Mesolithic Twins - 9,000 years ago
My name is Star and my twin brother’s name is Moon and we reach my father’s
shoulder in size. My father gave us these names because we were born when the moon and stars were very clear
in the skies.
My brother was very small when he was born and my mother was very worried for him. She needn’t
have worried though, because he’s very strong now and goes hunting with my father nearly every day while
I stay at home, helping my mother and grandmother to look for berries, nuts and leaves. This is all we have
to eat if the men in our camp don’t come home with any meat for us.
Living by the sea
We live near the never-ending waters that come in and out with crashing waves. This water
has a strange taste and makes you ill if you drink too much of it. We only drink the water from the high ground
that flows past our camp. I’m afraid of the never-ending waters, especially when it crashes over us when
my mother and I are looking for the round shells that stick themselves to rocks. We eat the meat inside the
shells but the shells are difficult to prise loose from the rocks. I’ve found a really good pebble on
the beach to smash the shell and my father has given me a small flint to scrape the meat out of the shell, so
it’s much easier now. My mother has stuck her little flint into a piece of wood to make it easier to handle.
I think I’ll do that too the next time we go looking for them. Sometimes, when we go collecting the shell
meat, some of my friends come too and we have great fun trying to dodge the waves as they crash onto the soft
sand. One girl, who knew I was afraid of the never-ending waters, pushed me and laughed at me when I fell into
the water and was wet through. I couldn’t stop crying.
My grandmother shouted at the girl to help me but she didn’t and only laughed more.
The girl’s mother was cross with her and smacked her, saying that my animal skin clothes would take days
to dry. I think that her mother smacked her because she was frightened of my grandmother. Everyone is frightened
of my grandmother because she holds the history of our tribe and the magic of the seasons. She carries a stick
now that she finds it difficult to walk and doesn’t hesitate to use it if someone annoys her.
My mother, grandmother and I also sometimes catch fish in the clear running waters from the
high ground. We have a spear with lots of little flints stuck to the end of it, all in a row. We stand very
quietly in the water until some fish swim by and then we try to stick the spear into them as fast as we can
but they often get away.
A man in the camp is making a boat made from the log of a tree because he says that there
are really big fish further out in the never-ending waters. Many moons have passed while he and his brothers
have been scraping away at the log to make space for them to sit inside it. You wouldn’t catch me going
with him though because that water is dangerously strong and can take you away forever! He says that they’ll
be safe because they’ll each have a paddle to control the boat. I’ll believe it when I see it, thank
you very much!
We used to live in another camp. This was where the clear running water flowed out to the
never-ending waters, but when the great long rains came, our camp was drowned and we lost many of our animal
skins and weapons. When the rain stopped everything was changed and our camp was under water. The water did
not go away so we had to find a different place to live further inland, safe away from the rising waters.
When the sun goes away and the fire is warm in our shelter, my grandmother tells us all stories
before we go to sleep. One of them is of the time our ancestors lived in the caves that looked out across the
flat lands. She said that the world was bigger then but that many of the flat lands are now hidden underneath
the never-ending waters. She says that our ancestors followed the deer because the deer always know where there’s
food to be found. She says that we must remember these stories so that we can tell our children and then they
can tell theirs if we are to survive.
She says that our ancestors are very important and are still with us today, even though we
can’t see them. My father says that there’s a cave where the wise men of our camp go to make shapes
of hunters and animals on the walls with berry juice and a red soft stone. He says that if there aren’t
many deer or boar about, then these magic pictures tell the ancestors to look for them and send them our way.
Setting up a new camp
When we moved our camp to this new site there were a lot of trees in the way. The men in the
camp burned them all first and then dug up the roots and stumps of what was left so that we had room to put
our shelters up.
My father is a very clever hunter because he has made a hat for himself from the skull and
antlers of the reindeer. He wears this when he’s hiding in the bushes to fool the deer into thinking he
is another deer and they come over to investigate. Lucky for my Dad the men from the hunting party, hiding in
the other bushes, can then spear or shoot arrows into the deer and we have food for many moons. I remembered
my grandmother’s story and told my dad not to kill too many deer because we need them to lead us to new
hunting grounds. He just laughed and said that he was not likely to do that because they always run too fast!
The other way my dad and brother catch animals for food is to set the dogs after them. My brother’s
dog once chased a wild boar right over a cliff, which was very good and my dad gave my brother the boar’s
tusks to make small, sharp tips for his spear. I’m hoping he’ll also make me a tool to make holes
in the animal skins to make it easier to sew them together because I want to make a new cloak for my grandmother.
I feel sorry for my grandmother because she’s finding it harder now to walk and gets very cold in the
The camp may be moving again soon because the animals aren’t so many now and it is getting
hard to find the shells with meat that live on the rocks. Our homes are quite simple to move because they’re
made from wooden poles in a circle and then covered with animal skins.
This means that we can easily pack up and camp somewhere else where there’s more food,
although we must stay close to the clear running waters from the high ground or we would die without water to
I’ll be sorry to go further away from the never-ending waters because I like collecting
the pretty shells and threading them together to make necklaces. One of the women in the camp asked me to make
one for her. My mother said I should ask for something in return so I asked her to make me a handle out of bone
for my little piece of flint that I use to scrape the meat out of shells with. I’m glad I did because
she carved a pattern onto the side of the handle so now I know that it is mine. I think I’ll scrape the
same shapes onto the pebble that I use to smash the shells with, as it is such a pretty pattern.
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