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From findspot to site: a spatial examination of the Mesolithic resource in Surrey

Simmonds, M. ORCID:, Hosfield, R. ORCID:, Branch, N. ORCID: and Black, S. ORCID: (2019) From findspot to site: a spatial examination of the Mesolithic resource in Surrey. Surrey Archaeological Collections, 102. pp. 43-69. ISSN 0309-7803

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Surrey has a diverse range of Mesolithic occupation evidence, spanning the Early Mesolithic, Horsham period and the Later Mesolithic. This paper collates these data and then quantitatively analyses the relationships between the geographical distributions of Mesolithic material and a range of environmental characteristics. The distribution of material is also analysed using a GIS to understand where ‘hotspots’ (and ‘coldspots’) of activity may be located and takes into account variations in collecting activity and modern discovery opportunities. There is evidence that the environment may have been important in determining the spatial extent of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer behaviour, and this is assessed through comparison of the Mesolithic resource and a range of environmental variables. The record shows a prevalence of hunting-type assemblages in the south-west of the county, where the majority of microliths and points were identified, together with sites with evidence for occupation (often excavated as such, or with evidence for domestic activities such as burning). There was also evidence that records identified on higher elevations and steeper slopes appeared to represent items used, discarded or lost on hunting trips and potentially highlighted the importance of these regions as lookout or observation locations; however, there was a lack of occupation sites based near these optimal viewing locations. The majority of occupation sites were located across an east--west Greensand band, and situated within 5km of the Clay-with-Flints outcrops. These were wet/dry marginal regions, probably conducive to settlement owing to the benefits these locations may have had for hunting and gathering. A lower density of records from north-west and south-east Surrey appear to indicate these areas were used primarily for the processing of material while people were moving across the landscape. The overall high proportion of findspots and scatters within the dataset may result from the nature of hunter-gatherer living, with high levels of mobility within the landscape alongside ephemeral occupation and activity sites.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
ID Code:85242
Publisher:Surrey Archaeological Society


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