By Phil Jones
This volume reports on a near-continuous mantle of struck Mesolithic flints, extending over more than a hectare, found at the North Park Farm quarry in Bletchingley, Surrey. Selective excavation demonstrated that they were the debris from repeated visits, and it can be estimated that in excess of a million struck flints were present, with at least 17,000 microliths. The locations of up to twelve formal hearths were identified, with a few retaining some of their original hearth stones, and two providing reasonably secure radiocarbon dates. A 'fire pit' was the only such feature, but the multiple series of later Mesolithic dates from its burnt fills, and its primary purpose, proved enigmatic.
Mesolithic activity was found to have spanned the entire period. The early period was better represented towards the western end of the valley, and discrete activities, such as axe/adze preparation and the manufacture of microliths, could be identified at other localities along its flanks. More commonly, multiple visits and subsequent movement made it impossible to distinguish the unique assemblages of discrete events. Despite this, the work has demonstrated that the valley, and its immediate hinterland, was one of five 'persistent places' within Surrey that were chosen at similar watershed positions that commanded at least two river systems.
A Mesolithic 'persistent place' at North Park Farm, Bletchingley, Surrey
by Phil Jones
SpoilHeap Monograph 8
ISBN No 978-0-9576509-0-9
122 pages, 93 illustrations
Price £20 + £3.50 p&p
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The monograph has been published with the aid of a grant from English Heritage.