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Woodworking technology and the utilisation of wood resources at Star Carr

Bamforth, Michael (2017) Woodworking technology and the utilisation of wood resources at Star Carr. MA by research thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This study examines the evidence for woodworking technology and the utilisation of wood resources using the waterlogged wood assemblage from the site of Star Carr. 4516 pieces of wood were recovered from Star Carr during excavations between 2013 and 2015; 1602 of these items had been split, trimmed or hewn. The recent campaign used a fine-grained approach to the wood analysis, individually recording each item. The efficacy of this approach has allowed a re-interpretation of the ‘brushwood habitation platform’ first identified by Clark, has furthered our understanding of the lake-edge platform first encountered in 1985, and has identified two further similar platforms. A previously unknown extensive scatter of detrital wood is interpreted as a possible trackway giving access to the lake. An interdisciplinary approach has allowed a possible Mesolithic woodworking toolkit to be identified with flint, antler, bone and wood all playing important roles in Mesolithic carpentry. Analysis of the wood has identified a single, distinct, woodworking tradition spanning the 800 years of human activity at Star Carr, describing a mature tradition of carpentry with evidence for widespread use amongst the general population as well as possible specialisation in the production of specific artefacts. A slight but distinct signal for woodland management in the form of coppicing of roundwood stems is discussed, and a practice of harvesting tangential outer splits from living trees has potentially been identified. Although the relationship between Mesolithic people and the wooded environment they lived in remains opaque, the cultural richness and layers of meaning imbued in the woodland are clear, as is the detailed knowledge the inhabitants had of available woodland resources. Furthermore, the nature of the wooden structures – illuminated through this latest phase of analysis – supports the assertion that group sizes may have been larger, and perhaps more settled in the landscape, than has previously been thought.

Item Type: Thesis (MA by research)
Keywords: wood timber technology mesolithic
Academic Units: The University of York > Archaeology (York)
Depositing User: Mr Michael Bamforth
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2018 13:29
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2018 13:29
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20569

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