The Burry Holms site under excavation
(Photo National Museum Wales)

A group of early Mesolithic flint flakes recovered from the excavations at Burry Holms.
(Photo National Museum Wales)


Although there are no known examples in Wales, a small number of Mesolithic houses have been recorded elsewhere in the British Isles, such as at Howick, Northumberland, where the remains of a Mesolithic hut were discovered. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the hut was constructed just over 9,700 years ago. Over 18,000 pieces of flint were recovered during the excavations, as well as charred animal bone, charred hazelnut shells, red ochre and occasional shell fragments. The images shows the excavation of the circular foundations of the house situated on the cliff edge and a modern reconstruction of how the hut might have looked.
(Photos Clive Waddington)



Burry Holms, Gower

Today Burry Holms is a tidal island located at the northern end of the Gower peninsula, but during the Mesolithic it would have been an inland hill overlooking the plain of the River Severn. Excavation by the National Museum of Wales in recent years has produced a range of early Mesolithic finds including flint points and tiny saws. Attached to one flint point were traces of birch bark tar, a sticky resin that was once used as glue. This suggests that this glue may have been used to help attach the flint point to a spear or harpoon, evidence of which has been found elsewhere in Europe, but not until now in Wales.

Aerial photograph of Burry Holms Island at the northern end of the Gower peninsula.
(Photo © RCAHMW Crown Copyright)