10,000 YEARS AGO – WORKED FLINT
Volunteers and professional archaeologists field walked Fisheries Field in January 2017 and found hundreds of pieces of worked flint. Flint does not occur naturally in Northumberland and the likeliest source of this material is from the beach where flint nodules are regularly found.
Study of the Fisheries Field flint suggests it was worked some 10,000 years ago! At that time hunter-gatherers would have been wandering around the landscape utilising different environments at different times of the year. The distribution of the Fisheries Field flint clearly shows that the main concertation is near to the Stank Letch stream. The image here shows a Mesolithic thumbnail scraper.
So we can imagine a family group setting up a temporary camp near this stream and making flint tools as and when required. After a few months the camp would be abandoned as our family moved to a new site.
7,000 YEARS AGO – ANIMAL FOOTPRINTS
Along the length of Druridge Bay a shelf of black peat with preserved tree stumps is regularly exposed by the tides. This peat layer has been radiocarbon dated to 7,000 years ago.
In 2014 an extensive peat layer was exposed about a mile north of Cresswell and, remarkably, well-preserved animal footprints were visible for 2 weeks until they were covered by sand again.
These footprints belong to red deer, wild boar and aurochs (wild cattle).
4,000 YEARS AGO - BURIALS
In February 2017, as part of the community archaeology project, a machine trench was randomly excavated in Fisheries Field and by sheer good fortune landed right on top of two Early Bronze Age burial cists! The image here shows our volunteer archaeology team carefully excavating the burial cists.
Unfortunately ground conditions meant that no bones survived and nor was there any pottery to date the cists. However, their similarity to other burials in the area, strongly suggest they are about 4,000 years old and likely to be part of a larger cemetery.