Star Carr

Star Carr

Star Carr is considered to be an important site for understanding the Mesolithic period Consider why this situation exists and outline what factors limit the available evidence for hunter gathers in Britain during this period

To understand Star Carr we most place the site in context with the larger Mesolithic landscape of Britain Is Star Carr important and if so why What evidence does Star Carr show us of Mesolithic hunter gathers and what does this evidence suggest Along with these questions we most also look at how much evidence there is for hunter gathers in Britain and what role Star Carr plays in this evidence Answering these questions along with why there is such limited evidence in Britain for Mesolithic hunter gathers is what this essay will look at

Star Carr which is located in The Vale of Pickering Yorkshire gained the status of Type Site after J G D Clarks excavations which started in 1949 This status placed on Star Carr was mainly for the level of organic preservation which is unrivalled in any other British Mesolithic site Hunter Ralston 2009 The preservation could be largely contributed to the wet environment in which a lot of Clarks finds were recorded from The wealth of finds Clark recorded at Star Carr included large amounts of flint both worked and waste a birch wood platform on the lakes edge and lots of deer antler along with other animal remains The finds make the importance of Star Carr unquestionable although how theses finds got there and the purpose of Star Carr is a different argument Clark 1954

Star Carr is arguably the most reinterpreted site in European Prehistory The main areas of reinterpretation seem to be firstly and arguably the most important which season was Star Carr actually occupied winter or summer Clarks initial interpretation of the evidence led him to believe that the site was a major base camp occupied by four or five families during the winter months The lack of evidence for fish such as pike at Star Carr which would of been present in the glacial lake Star Carr is situated near could possible show that the site was used during the winter months as evidence from Europe suggests Mesolithic pike farming was carried out during the summer months This lack of evidence plus the positive evidence of a large amount of Red deer antlers approximately 102 mature stag antlers that were recovered from the site is what strongly suggest a winter base campClark 1954 In contrast to this Legge RowleyConway 1988 et al suggest that the function of Star Carr may have been more specialised such as a hunting camp and not occupied by a whole family or extended family but by five or six hunters

The second main argument seems to be of the function of Star Carr Along with the previously mentioned theory by Legge RowleyConway another explanation for the large amounts of antler found at Starr Carr could be that Star Carr was a specialised industrial site working both antlers for tools and tanning hides for clothes This would suggest that the antlers were brought to the site to be worked and that Starr Carr is not the kill site In conjunction with this theory the recovery of rolls of birch bark which is believed to of been used as a tanning agent would suggest it was a summer camp and not as Clark thought a winter one The warmer temperatures would aid in the tanning process as well as making the hides easier to work as the deer would be carrying less fat which would need to be removed from the hides by the hunters Pitts 1979 This theory seems to be a better evaluation of the evidence as if the site was either a base camp occupied by a family or a hunting camp it would not be unreasonable to find more evidence of butcher and food preparation

Clark reports evidence for burning of the lake side vegetation One of the theories for the burning of the lake side vegetation may have been for easy access to the water for canoes This would enforce the idea of Star Carr as a specialised camp and the finish

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