PALAEOLITHIC AND MESOLITHIC: Ritual, Religion and Ceremony

It can be difficult to recognise depositional actions that had significance beyond the mundane. Occasionally, however, such deposits are sufficiently different as to allow them to be distinguished archaeologically (i.e. Palmer 1970). Claims for ritually structured deposition on Mesolithic sites are rare but can give rise to expansive interpretative discussions (Chatterton 2003: Conneller 2004).

Excavations at Lunt Meadows have found what appears to be special depositional treatment of pieces of crystalline rock containing mica crystals that reflect light (possibly a now-decomposed form of granite). One piece appears to have been deliberately placed on a stone plinth flanked by two struck blue flints at the centre of a sandstone cobble setting. The cobbles had been sequentially laid in a spiral at the base of the central plinth.  In this instance the material stands out visually from the general assemblage of finds, both for the unusual geological nature of the central, sparkly, stone and the blue flints, and for the unique spiral spatial setting. Elsewhere on the site, other pieces of the same type of crystalline rock appear to have been deliberately placed sealing a number of pits. One piece was found associated with one of the two white blades from the site, directly beneath a fallen burnt tree trunk dated to c. 5900BC (Cowell in prep). This may be a rare example of discernible, meaningful structured deposition from a Mesolithic context, although the actual meaning remains unknown. 

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