Background information

These files provide background information for teachers about the Mesolithic and the site of Star Carr.

Star Carr is an archaeological site, about five miles south-east of Scarborough in the parish of Seamer. It was first excavated by the famous archaeologist, Sir Grahame Clark.

It is a site where a group of Mesolithic people lived at the northern edge of a now filled in lake, the former Lake Flixton. They lived by the lake for around 600 years, from 11,200 to 10,600 years ago.

These were among the earliest people to resettle Britain after the end of the last Ice Age. They lived by hunting and gathering animals and plants in the forest that then covered all of Britain.

At this time, Britain was still linked to the continent across dry land in what is now the North Sea. Archaeologists call this lost land Doggerland, extending from Yorkshire over to Denmark and Germany.

Star Carr is a very special site:

  • its excavation pioneered a new approach to archaeology;
  • its rare finds of bone, antler and wood revolutionised our view of Mesolithic people in Britain;
  • it provided the earliest evidence for domestic dog in Britain;
  • it has the earliest carpentry in Europe;
  • it has the earliest house yet found in Britain;
  • it has more than 30 red deer antler headdresses, unique in Britain and very rare in the rest of Europe.

The following documents can be downloaded:

Star Carr Background

This contains information about Star Carr and the Mesolithic that can be used to support the classroom activities.

The following images and further information can also be downloaded:

Map of Mesolithic sites in Britain

Timeline of Britain since the last Ice Age

The following Powerpoint slide has images showing the past in 1,000 year steps back in time:

Timeline of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Britain

This can be illustrated with the following images: