A Unique Engraved Shale Pendant from the Site of Star Carr: the oldest Mesolithic art in Britain

Nicola Milner, Michael Bamforth, Gareth Beale, Julian Carty, Konstantinos Chatzipanagis, Shannon Charmaine Klassen Croft, Cantal Conneller, Benjamin Joseph Elliott, Laura Catherine Fitton, Becky Knight, Roland Kröger, Aimee Patrice Little, Andrew Needham, Harry Kenneth Robson, Charlotte Catherine Aneliese Rowley, Barry Taylor

Research output: Other contribution


In 2015 an engraved shale pendant was found during excavations at the Early Mesolithic site of Star Carr, UK. Engraved motifs on Mesolithic pendants are extremely rare, with the exception of amber pendants from southern Scandinavia. The artwork on the pendant is the earliest known Mesolithic art in Britain; the 'barbed line' motif is comparable to styles on the Continent, particularly in Denmark. When it was first uncovered the lines were barely visible but using a range of digital imaging techniques it has been possible to examine them in detail and determine the style of engraving as well as the order in which the lines might have been made. In addition, microwear and residue analyses were applied to examine whether the pendant showed signs that it had been strung or worn, and whether the lines had been made more visible through the application of pigments, as has been suggested for some Danish amber pendants. This approach of using multiple scientific and analytical techniques has not been used previously and provides a methodology for the examination of similar artefacts in the future.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of York
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2016

Publication series

NameInternet Archaeology
PublisherUniversity of York
ISSN (Print)1363-5387

Bibliographical note

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  • Star Carr
  • yorkshire
  • Mesolithic Art

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