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Incredibly preserved 6,000 year old elm leaf is discovered in Lancashire

Leaf that fell from an old elm tree to the earth more than 6,000 years ago has been discovered to have been perfectly preserved by archaeologists clearing a piece of land in Lancashire for an A-road of £ 100 million

  • Leaf is perfectly preserved and dates from around 6,000 years ago
  • Other finds are pollen, wood and hazelnuts and the tip of an arrowhead
  • Land is being mined as part of a £ 100 million project to build a three-mile bypass
  • The old finds from the excavation of the proposed A585 are shown locally

A perfectly preserved leaf that fell from an elm tree 6,000 years ago was discovered intact in Lancashire.

Archaeologists found the magazine while cleaning up a piece of land just outside of Blackpool in preparation for a new A-ring road.

The leaf was discovered in a selection of other stones and pottery from the Stone Age.

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A perfectly preserved leaf (photo) that fell from an elm tree 6,000 years ago was discovered intact in Lancashire. Archaeologists found the magazine while cleaning up a piece of land just outside of Blackpool

A perfectly preserved leaf (photo) that fell from an elm tree 6,000 years ago was discovered intact in Lancashire. Archaeologists found the magazine while cleaning up a piece of land just outside of Blackpool

The archaeological finds excavated from peat and clay date from the time between the Mesolithic, the Neolithic and the Bronze Age and extend to 14,000 years.

Highways England revealed that the three-mile A585 will take dual carriageway traffic around Little Singleton.

The project is also designed to improve the intersections in Windy Harbor and Skippool.

The collection of items found on the site also includes old pollen, wood, leaves and hazelnuts, as well as signs of burnt seeds.

A pointed stone shard, perhaps the tip of an arrowhead, was also dug up.

All items will be on display at local locations to raise awareness and support for the £ 100 million construction project.

Oxford Archeology carried out soil surveys last year prior to the construction of the project when it discovered the prehistoric magazine.

Tools found on the site are machined flint and leaves (left), stone tools from mesolithic hunter-gatherers (before 3800 BC) or Neolithic first farmers (after approximately 3800 BC). The two gray pieces on the right are fragments of a neolithic polished stone ax

Tools found on the site are machined flint and leaves (left), stone tools from mesolithic hunter-gatherers (before 3800 BC) or Neolithic first farmers (after approximately 3800 BC). The two gray pieces on the right are fragments of a neolithic polished stone ax

Tools found on the site are machined flint and leaves (left), stone tools from mesolithic hunter-gatherers (before 3800 BC) or Neolithic first farmers (after approximately 3800 BC). The two gray pieces on the right are fragments of a neolithic polished stone ax

Rare pottery and tool fragments sieved from the site, including (left) parts of a Carinated Bowl, the first type of pottery used in the UK when agriculture began around 3838 BC. Arrived. On the right, from the same site, are some old twigs and hazelnuts

Rare pottery and tool fragments sieved from the site, including (on the left) parts of a Carinated Bowl, the first type of pottery used in the UK when agriculture began around 3838 BC. Arrived. On the right, from the same site, are some old twigs and hazelnuts

Rare pottery and tool fragments sieved from the site, including (left) parts of a Carinated Bowl, the first type of pottery used in the UK when agriculture began around 3838 BC. Arrived. On the right, from the same site, are some old twigs and hazelnuts

Chief archaeologist Fraser Brown said the finds were of national interest without precedent for such finds in the area.

The coastal area is soggy today and Windy Harbor, at the eastern end of the planned bypass, is more than six miles from the sea.

But this piece of land was perhaps underwater when the leaf first fell to the earth.

This region may have been fished by hunter gatherers and then, when the land came from the sea, settled by early farmers.

Mr. Brown said: “We have found extensive deposits of peat and sea clay that have contributed to the preservation of old plant remains and that provide information about local vegetation, water, climate and human activity.

“We have also found pottery, stone tools, and charred remains that provide direct evidence for Mesolithic hunter-gatherers foraging and camping on the water and later on the water, Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers living on the edge of a salt marsh.”

HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE DURING THE MESOLITHIC PERIOD?

The Mesolithic period, also called Middle stone age, is an ancient period (8000 BC to 2700 AD) that took place between the Paleolithic period (old stone age) with its demolished stone tools and the neolithic period (new stone age) with its polished stone tools.

The material culture of the Mesolithic is characterized by more innovation than the Paleolithic.

Among the new types of broken stone tools were microlites: very small stone tools intended to be mounted together on a shaft to produce a serrated edge. Polished stone was another innovation that originated in some Mesolithic groups.

Northern European Mesolithic People (called Maglemosian’s, which flourished around 6,000 BC, left traces of primitive huts with bark-covered floors and adzes for working wood.

At Starr Carr in Yorkshire there are signs that there were four or five cabins, with a population of around 25 people. There are indications that these sites may only be occupied seasonally.

An artist's impression of tribes fishing during the Mesolithic period

An artist's impression of tribes fishing during the Mesolithic period

An artist’s impression of tribes fishing during the Mesolithic period

Aracheologists have also found smaller flint tools from this group. These were mounted as points or barbs for arrows and harpoons and were also used in other composite tools.

They used adzes and chisels made from antlers or bone, as well as needles and pins, fishhooks, harpoons and fish pears with different teeth. There are also some larger tools made of base stone, such as club heads.

Wooden structures have also been found and have been well preserved due to the preservative properties of swamps. Some of the structures discovered are ax handles, paddles and a canoe and fishing nets are made with bark fiber.

Deer were hunted, as were fish and water birds, and some species of marsh plants may have been used.

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