Stone Age Scousers’ habitat found

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Richard Moss, on the archeology team, shows JMU Journalism a flint he just found

A Stone Age settlement, dating back to the Mesolithic period, has been unearthed in Lunt Meadows, near Sefton.

Three homes of people who could be our Scouse ancestors are lying in a 200 square metre-site in the Alt Valley, an one of them has been carbon-dated to 5,800 BC, making it almost 8,000 years’ old.

This find is a significant advance in the knowledge about Mesolithic peoples, who were always considered a very mobile group.

Ron Cowell, Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology for the Museum of Liverpool, told JMU Journalism: “The significance of this site is it seems to represent a much more settled view of these hunter-gatherers than we’d had before because the evidence wasn’t that great.

“Our picture of them was a very highly mobile, small group of people, constantly on the move leaving very small camps behind them, but now this looks like a camp that is occupied for long periods of time by reasonably large groups of people. We’ve only got four or five sites like this in the whole of the country.

“I think what is good about our site and these other sites don’t have is that we’ve actually got environmental evidence of their surroundings and that should give us a much more complete picture of the specific environment that they were living in.”

The settlement was discovered through an operation by the Environment Agency to provide a flood alleviation scheme for the River Alt and improve the quality of its water.

Eventually, the area will be managed by the Wildlife Trust who will return it to a natural reserve, incorporating an element that describes the human interaction with the past environment.

Mr Cowell hinted that people will be able to visit the site in future and the archaeologist is hopeful the records and finds will go back to the Museum of Liverpool, allowing further research on the period and additions to galleries displaying the Mesolithic period.

He added: “When you start talking about the history of Britain, I suppose these people are right at the beginning of the story.”

Additional reporting by Calum Metcalfe

About Paul Collins, JMU Journalism