Tuff, flint, and hazelnuts: Final Palaeolithic and Mesolithic occupation at Maryport, Cumbria 

Flint blades
Tuff blades

Evidence for Final Palaeolithic and Mesolithic occupation at Maryport, Cumbria was discovered during excavation of Roman occupation features by CFAArchaeology Ltd. A varied lithic assemblage was recovered including worked flint (55%) and tuff (43%), and the rest comprised a small amount of chert, chalcedony, and rhyolite. Early occupation, probably dating to the Final Palaeolithic Federmesser-Gruppen is demonstrated through different technological styles amongst the lithic assemblage. Three phases of occupations were identified from the cut features and there was a significant amount of charred hazelnut shell which gave radiocarbon dates centring around 8200 cal BC.  

This site provides the first clear evidence that tuff was exploited directly from sources in the Central Lake District, possibly as early as the Final Palaeolithic. The occupations also demonstrate intensive processing of hazelnuts centring around 8200 cal BC and lasting for 150 – 558 years. The dates and occupation span are almost identical to those derived from the Mesolithic structure at Cass ny Hawin 2 on the Isle of Man. 

Read more at: Ann Clarke and Magnus Kirby 2020 Tuff, flint, and hazelnuts: Final Palaeolithic and Mesolithic occupation at Netherhall Road, Maryport, Cumbria