Archeology Headlines of November 2009

This month, archeologists have revealed thousands of flint tools and flakes from the Mesolithic Period have been uncovered in Leicestershire, England. From burned animal bones to postholes, the archeologists discovered many clues to unlocking the Mesolithic past. In this article, you will also learn of an ancient cemetery uncovered in Costa Rica.

Mesolithic Tools Found in England

Thanks to the efforts of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), the excavation of a major prehistoric site located at Asfordby (close to Leicestershire) has reaped an array of artifacts that will answer many questions about the way people lived during the Mesolithic time period. Dating back to as early as 9000 BC, the region belonged to hunter-gatherers who reemerged after the last Ice Age. Crossing over into the area by traveling a land bridge connected to the continental mainland, the hunters established their lives in a region that would later become Britain , several thousand years into the future.

Working with an area that measured 10 meters square, the small space did not limit the archeologists from excavating large treasures, including a hearth rich with charcoal. The position of tent-like structures was mapped out from the postholes and arcs of stone uncovered during the excavation. The charred animal bones and charcoal chips identified the presence of cooking activities.

Archeologists point out that the worked flint found at the site is a feature that sets this excavation apart from others, as it is a significant sign that flint was used for the creation of tools, blades, scrapers, and other tools. More than 5,000 worked flints were impressively scattered in the small area. The bottom line is that the Mesolithic people made their home at this site and were actively making and repairing broken flint weapons and tools on a large basis. Evidence suggests that it was commonplace to collect and reuse arrowheads , most likely for the purpose of hunting.

Discovery of Pre-Columbian Cemetery in Costa Rica

Stretching across a plot of land measuring two hectares, researchers from the National Museum uncovered an indigenous cemetery in Guapiles, Costa Rica. Dating back to the pre-Colombian era, the cemetery was built by the Huetares tribe , who lived in the region 300 and 800 AD. The complex came to light during an environmental study routinely conducted before construction for a new building can take place.

Researchers describe the funeral complex as being divided into three sectors , two of which have already been excavated and deemed completely undisturbed. Called Liceo, the archaeological site consists of three tombs or mounds of stone known for covering a grave. Below the rocks, close to 60 ceramic artifacts have been found by researchers, ranging from everyday items (like pots and pans) to funeral offerings.

An interesting aspect of the new find is that no marked graves were located. It is thought that bodies of the deceased were positioned directly on the floor with objects placed by the head or feet. Lastly, stones of varying sizes were most likely gathered from the river to cover the body and artifacts.