Thursday, August 12, 2010

At 11,000 Years Old, Britain's Oldest House Found

How many secrets are buried beneath the earth? Well there is one less as scientists report they have unearthed the oldest house in Britain, dating back to 8,500 BC. Researchers from the University of York and University of Manchester also found a wooden platform — the earliest example of carpentry work in all of Europe near the 11.5 foot circular house.

The site in Scarborough, North Yorkshire is described as "incredibly rare" by Nicky Milner, who describes the ancient people living in the settlement as "very much like you and me" wearing jewelry, keeping domestic dogs, using boats and stone tools as part of their hunter-gatherer lifestyle spent along a now-disappeared lake. During this mesolithic period, Britain was still joined to the rest of mainland Europe so this area was populated by the first settlers to return after the ice age had retreated.

One of the important breakthrough discoveries to come out of this dig is the knowledge that this was not a nomadic people. "We used to think they moved around a lot and left little evidence. Now we know they built large structures and were very attached to places in the landscape," says Chantal Conneller of the University of Manchester.

Scientists are hopeful that the dig will uncover many more secrets since it is believed that the round house represents just 1/100th of the scope of the settlement.

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