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The Mesolithic of the wetland/dryland edge in the Somerset Levels

Front cover for The Mesolithic of the wetland / dryland edge in the Somerset Levels

Revised Report November 2015 Historic England Reference 6624

By Martin Bell, Richard Brunning, Rob Batchelor, Tom Hill, Keith Wilkinson

  • The project involved an audit and updating of existing Historic Environment Record data for the Mesolithic in Somerset, leading to a 40% increase in entries
  • Field techniques have been developed and applied to locate two stratified final Mesolithic sites with palaeoenvironmental and palaeoeconomic potential. This involved a combination of borehole surveys, geophysics and test pits to examine the evidence for Mesolithic and early Neolithic activity at the wetland / dryland interface in the Somerset Levels
  • Palaeoenvironmental studies provided evidence of the changing character of the wetlands beside three known Mesolithic sites, each situated on sandy burtle sediments of Pleistocene date, at Greylake, Chedzoy and Shapwick
  • The project has contributed to raising the public profile of the Mesolithic period locally and nationally.

The project was carried out by a partnership of experts led by the University of Reading. It was funded by Historic England, who also provided support and advice for the project. Substantial additional support was provided by Somerset County Council and the South West Heritage Trust.


  • Executive summary
  • Chapter 1: Introduction to the project
  • Chapter 2: Synthesis of existing Mesolithic data from the Somerset Levels
  • Chapter 3: Queens Sedgemoor: Palaeoenvironmental Analysis of a Mesolithic-Neolithic Sedimentary Sequence
  • Chapter 4: Greylake Burtle, Mesolithic stratigraphy
  • Chapter 5: The wetland edge at Chedzoy
  • Chapter 6: Shapwick Burtle Mesolithic site and the Sweet Track
  • Chapter 7: Brue valley test pits
  • Chapter 8: The middle Parrett valley, Somerset: a review of Mesolithic stratigraphy and 14th Century chronology
  • Chapter 9: The Mesolithic of the wetland/dryland edge in the Somerset Levels: radiocarbon dating
  • Chapter 10: The Mesolithic of the wetland/dryland edge in the Somerset Levels: surface collected and excavated lithics assemblages
  • Chapter 11: Conclusions regarding the Mesolithic of the wetland/dryland edge in Somerset
  • References
  • Appendices
    Appendix 1: Shapwick Burtle lithic assemblages
    Appendix 2: Gazeteer of Mesolithic sites
    Appendix 2a: Location of the Boreholes at Greylake
    Appendix 3: Lithological descriptions of the Greylake boreholes
    Appendix 4: Lithological descriptions of the monoliths from the Greylake test pit
    Appendix 5: Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating of two samples from Shapwick Trench 2
    Appendix 6: Catalogue of flint artefacts from project sites: Chedzoy, Shapwick and Brue Valley Burtle

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: Main report: 256; Appendices: 58


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