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10th March 2014

Manchester archaeologists win national award

Digging at Ice Age site ‘Star Carr’ captured public interest in a popular vote

Ever wondered if in 11,000 years people will be digging up your house, looking through your belongings?

This is what a team of archaeologists from the universities of Manchester and York have been doing in East Yorkshire for the last nine years. The team have been piecing together the use of the Star Carr site by hunter-gatherers at the end of the last Ice Age around 9,000 BC.

Directors of the investigation, Professor Nicky Milner, from University of York, Dr Chantal Conneller, from University of Manchester, and Dr Barry Taylor, who now works at the University of Chester, were shocked but overjoyed when they discovered they had won  “Research Project of the Year” at the national Current Archaeology Awards 2014. The award was decided by a public vote.

“It has been a real privilege to excavate such an exciting site and to communicate our findings to the public. It’s great news that our work at Star Carr has caught the public imagination. We hope that our work will inspire future generations to continue to study this period”, Dr Conneller said.

The digging at Star Carr has revealed the oldest house discovered in Britain, along with some of the oldest carpentry in Europe.

The site was inhabited by hunter gatherers from just after the last ice age, for a period of between 200 and 500 years.

Professor Milner said, “We are delighted that so many people are interested in Star Carr and the lives of our ancestors who lived 11,000 years ago.”

Dr Taylor added, “This is a fantastic award to receive. The Mesolithic is a neglected period of our past, so it is great to see the work that we’ve been carrying out at one of its most famous sites receiving such an endorsement from the public.”

The team have published a book, and will also present their findings in a yearlong exhibition at the Yorkshire Museum.

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