In yesterday’s session of ‘From the Ice Age to the Stone Age’ we discussed the Mesolithic in Britain and, in particular, the famous site of Star Carr in Yorkshire. The website linked here provides a number of photographs of the site and video clips discussing aspects of the excavation and the artefacts found.
In addition, this short video clip discusses the use and manufacture of frontlets or headdresses found at Star Carr and other Mesolithic sites through experimental archaeology:
This final video by Archaeosoup Productions provides a nice overview of the site:
In our last session of ‘From the Ice Age to the Stone Age’ we discussed Palaeolithic art. A podcast about one such object, the Swimming Reindeer in the British Museum, part of the BBC Radio 4 series ‘A History of the World in 100 objects’ is available to listen to and download from the BBC website. This podcast tells the story of the Swimming Reindeer and its place in the history of art and religion with contributions from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and archaeologist Professor Steven Mithen.
In our last session, we looked at perhaps one of the most famous ancient hominids, Neanderthals. Those wishing to find out more about them, may want to check out the following additional podcasts and video clips:
- BBC Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ episode on the Neanderthals (2010) with Simon Conway Morris, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge, Chris Stringer, Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum and Visiting Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, and Danielle Schreve, Reader in Physical Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London.
- Chris Stringer, Societies in Transition: The Neanderthal-Modern Human Transition (2009), University of Oxford podcasts.
- Planet Earth podcast: Neanderthal mammoth hunters in Jersey (2002)
- Svante Pääbo: DNA clues to our inner neanderthal (2011), TED talks.
A series of footprints that were left by early humans around 900,000 years ago were discovered by a team of scientists led by the British Museum, Natural History Museum and Queen Mary University of London. The footprints left in ancient estuary muds were found at Happisburgh in Norfolk and are direct evidence of the earliest known humans in northern Europe. This video provides more information about the discovery.
In the first session of ‘From the Ice Age to the Stone Age’, we examined the earliest evidence for hominins in Britain. One site that was mentioned as having significance to this story was Boxgrove in West Sussex. This short video clip from BBC’s 2002 documentary, ‘Apeman’, shows the refitting of flint fragments from that site.
Whilst it is not essential to do any background reading before the course begins, you may find it useful to do so. The reading list below contains books that you can read. You don’t have to read all of these and we don’t specify any that you must read. Instead, these are readings you can use to gain a preliminary understanding of topics, as well as to study in more depth those parts of the course you are particularly interested in. You may also want to take a look at magazines such as British Archaeology, World Archaeology and Current Archaeology.
Further suggestions about ways you can extend your understanding of topics through books, television etc may also be posted as appropriate here on the tutor’s personal blog, as well as on the WEA East Midlands Region History Space
Bahn, P. 2012. Cave Art: A Guide to the Decorated Ice Age Caves of Europe. Frances Lincoln Press.
Clottes, J. 2016. What Is Paleolithic Art?: Cave Paintings and the Dawn of Human Creativity. University of Chicago Press.
Cook, J. 2013. Ice Age art: arrival of the modern mind. British Museum Press.
Cunliffe, B. 2013. Britain Begins. Oxford University Press.
Darvill, T. 2010. Prehistoric Britain. Routledge.
Dinnis, R and Stringer, C. 2014. Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story. The Natural History Museum.
Gosden, C. 2003. Prehistory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
Milner, N et al. 2013. Star Carr: Life in Britain after the Ice Age. Council for British Archaeology.
Oliver, N. 2012. A History of Ancient Britain. W&N. (accompanies BBC TV documentary series of the same name. Documentary also available on DVD).
Oppenheimer, S. 2007. The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story. Robinson.
Pettitt, P and White, M. 2012. The British Palaeolithic: Human Societies at the Edge of the Pleistocene World. Routledge.
Pryor, F. 2004. Britain BC: Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans. Harper Perennial.
Roberts, A. 2010. The Incredible Human Journey. Bloomsbury. (accompanies BBC TV documentary series of the same name. Documentary also available on DVD).
Stringer, C. 2006. Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain. Penguin.
Waddington, C. 2007. Mesolithic Settlement in the North Sea Basin: A Case Study from Howick, North-East England. Oxbow Books.