Stone Age Summer Takes Surrey By Storm

By Olivia Laing | 26 June 2006
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  • Archived article
Shows an archaeological dig in bright sunlight.

The North Park Farm Quarry dig. Image courtesy of Surrey County Archaeological Unit.

Stone Age Summer, a season of archaeological events aimed at everyone from children to academics, will be running in Surrey from 22 July 2006.

The programme, which is a collaboration between Surrey Archaeological Unit, Surrey History Centre and Surrey Museums, has been inspired by the excavation of a Mesolithic site at North Park Farm, Bletchingly.

Excavations began at the North Park site in 2001, and it quickly became apparent that the site offered a uniquely rich insight into Mesolithic life. Traces of Mesolithic activity are generally very rare, and the discovery of a site continuously visited by Mesolithic groups for millennia, is an immensely valuable archaeological resource.

Shows a grey flint on a white background.

A microlith, dated at 8, 000BC, found at the North Park Farm dig. Image courtesy of Surrey County Archaeological Unit.

According to Lalage Grundy, Surrey Museums’ Lifelong Learning Development Officer, the events of Stone Age Summer have been organised to increase public awareness of Stone Age life, and in particular to draw attention to the significance of the North Park finds.

The season begins with a family-friendly event at Surrey History Centre featuring a talk by children’s author Michelle Paver, whose acclaimed Wolf Brother series is set in the Mesolithic era.

Accompanying this event are workshops by flint knapper Allan Course and leather worker Piers Chandler. The day also offers a chance to view finds from the North Park Farm excavations, as well as handling replica tools.

Shows a red book cover with a cave-painting style drawing of a boy and a wolf.

Michelle Paver, author of Wolf Brother, will be talking about the inspirations behind her bestselling series of children's book.

Flint knapping and cave painting workshops, in combination with Mesolithic exhibitions, will be taking place at various museums in Surrey throughout July and August. The county has unusually rich evidence of Stone Age life, and Stone AgeSummer will give museums the opportunity to highlight the Mesolithic and Stone Age items that might otherwise be hidden in their collections.

On 9 September, TV archaeologist Julian Richards will be running a series of workshops (aimed at children, teenagers and adults respectively) that will provide a vivid insight into the day-to-day realities of Stone Age Life. Richards, who is well-known for the series ‘Meet the Ancestors’, has a great personal interest in pre-history.

Shows a man and woman knapping flint.

Flint knapper John Lord will be the special guest at the Mesolithic conference. Image courtesy of John Lord.

A more academic approach to the Mesolithic in Surrey will be taken on 30 September, when the History Centre plays host to a one-day conference designed to explore the significance of the recent finds. The special guest at this event is flint-knapper John Lord.

Stone Age Summer ‘draws’ to a close in October with a special event for The Big Draw. Further information on any of these events can be found at www.surreycc.gov.uk by searching for Stone Age Summer.

Shows the Renaissance in the Regions logo.

Olivia Laing is the 24 Hour Museum Renaissance Student Writer in the South East region. Renaissance is the groundbreaking initiative to transform England's regional museums, led by MLA, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

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