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But what does it meeeean?

Not a lot is known about the Mesolithic in Britain – it starts just after the last Ice Age ended 11,000 years ago and ends 5,300 years ago with the beginning of agriculture, pottery and barrow building. So nothing left but rocks, basically.

But someone poking around an agricultural field in Yorkshire discovered it was a silted up ancient lake. Or, to be more precise, a peaty lake. And we know how good peat is at preserving things.

All kinds of cool things have since been dug up at the site, now called Star Carr. Like Britain’s oldest house (okay, a series of postholes) and those nifty antler hats. And this pendant, which is carved out of shale. They call it the oldest bit of Mesolithic artwork yet found in Britain.

But was it art? The lines are barely visible (they’ve been enhanced here). Such shallow cuts…I wonder if it was a counter of some kind. Or even a map.

The article at the link compares them to Danish amber jewellery of about the same time. I see the similarities, but the “barbed line technique” looks clearly decorative.

The Star Carr pendant looks like information to me, like it was somewhat quickly scratched into the surface. A crib sheet?

I’m getting in to this prehistory stuff. Have a good weekend, everyone!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: March 26, 2021, 7:40 pm

Someone suggested they look like veins in a leaf. So the idea was that somebody found a leaf-shaped bit of shale and enhanced that? But we know these people could work materials better than this.

I guess the lines must’ve been cut with a bit of flint.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: March 26, 2021, 8:31 pm

“What ya doin’, Galg?”
“Welp, Urk, I’m makin’ a McGuffin.”
“A McGuffin? Wuzzat?”
“A McGuffin, Urk, is an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite lacking intrinsic importance.”
“Oh. What story is that, Galg?”
“I’m not sure, but at the rate we’re digging up this peat I figure somebody will get to the bottom in, oh, somewhere between 5,300 and 11,000 years. So I’m scratching suggestive but meaningless marks on this piece of shale and will drive it down as far as it’ll go with a coupla long poles.”
“Them guys will look at this, study it, and go stark, staring bonkers trying to figure out what it means, never figuring out that it means nothing!
“Good one, Galg! Great story!”

Galg and Urk laugh. “Harf-harf-harf-HARF-HARF-HARF!”

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 27, 2021, 12:21 am

(Broad Yorkshireman accent)
It’s obvious to a man who knows the diagram of a coal mine when he sees one.

and now for something almost completely different

Comment from Cantharkmycry
Time: March 27, 2021, 12:46 am

The name Taffimai Metallumai drifts through my mind. . .

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: March 27, 2021, 1:13 am

I vote map, but that probably my draftsman’s bias.

Comment from Mrs. Peel
Time: March 27, 2021, 5:26 pm

Mine too, O Best Beloved.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: March 27, 2021, 7:13 pm

Kind of a jump in topic, but I just ran across this; which is a new law passed by Parliament over there. “The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021. UK Statutory Instruments 2021 No. 364”

Now I speak broken English, can kinda-sorta embarrass myself in German, confuse the be-jabbers out of someone in Mandarin, and have forgotten all my Cantonese through decades of disuse. So Parliamentary legislatese may be beyond me. But from the looks of things it seems that starting Monday y’all [anyone] has to give a sworn statement as to your reason for leaving Britain, and if it is not approved by the powers that be a)you cannot leave and b) you will be heavily fined.

There are only a limited number of acceptable reasons for trying to leave Britain. Being a football [I assume that means soccer] team on tour is apparently one of them. Interesting priorities.

In any case, here is a link to the Parliamentary records of the legislation: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2021/364/contents/made. Y’all [do you still have a US passport?] and Uncle B [and any other Brits] may want to look at this and factor it into you and yours’ future plans. It is NOT a good sign when a government says its citizens cannot leave. Don’t know where any Brits might go to for freedom [under our current regime we are less than secure], but there is the saying “Prior Planning Prevents . . .”

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from Pupster
Time: March 27, 2021, 9:12 pm

You’d think the leaving would be OK, more concern about the coming back.

The rock in question is obviously a cheat sheet so Urg could pass his Mesolithic Midterm.

Comment from BJM
Time: March 28, 2021, 4:31 pm

Kinda looks like fields/allotments…they are still laid out that way.

@Durned…When we moved to the UK in the 80’s we gathered a group of friends, but there was always a bit of cultural distance beyond the innate British reticence and American bombast. One night after a nice dinner and a couple of bottles of Chateau Thames talk turned to shared childhood experiences. After a tale or two of humble beginnings talk petered out. “Luxury!” I blurted…and it was ON. I am still amazed how many people can recite this skit some 50 years later.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 28, 2021, 9:10 pm

@BJM – I can still annoy the boys with various Python sketches. I miss a bit I’m sure but mostly.

As to this new law….

Well, what’s the point of goin abroad when you’re just another tourist, carted around in buses by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Coventry in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their Sunday Mirrors, complaining about the tea… (und so wieter)

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: March 28, 2021, 9:13 pm

Moderated! Whut! Whut!

Comment from Bunk Strutts
Time: March 29, 2021, 6:30 am

Couple things bother me about that pendant but I’m not gonna tell.

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