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Divers find Stone Age site in North Sea
By Paul Stokes
(Filed: 12/09/2003)


The first evidence of Stone Age settlements in the North Sea has been found by chance during a diving lesson.

The divers found artefacts including flint tools and arrowheads that have been preserved underwater for between 5,000 and 10,000 years.


Dr Penny Spikins with a stone from an undersea settlement that could be 10,000 years old

One of the two settlements off Tynemouth, near Newcastle upon Tyne, may prove to be the oldest underwater archaeological site off the British coast. There has been only one previous such discovery, in the Solent, near Southampton.

Dr Penny Spikins, a lecturer at Newcastle University, stumbled on the latest find while learning to scuba dive last month. She said: "I noticed lots of pieces of flint beneath me on the sea bed.To the average person they would seem like ordinary stones you would find on the beach but to a specialist they were something very exciting indeed."

Dr Spikins was with four members of an international archaeological research team from the university's School of Historical Studies. The two sites are about 100 yards apart and 500 yards out to sea. One is at the end of a long, rocky outcrop which was once a small cliff face and thought to be from the early Mesolithic period (8,500 to 10,000 years ago). The other is believed to belong to the late Mesolithic period (5,000 to 8,500 years ago).

The Mesolithic people lived in the Middle Stone Age, between the end of the last Ice Age and the start of organised agriculture. The sites were submerged as sea levels rose.

The flint artefacts, which were in up to 26 feet of water, range from a core that was used to make knives and other sharp objects to a microlith or arrowhead.

David Miles, English Heritage's chief archaeologist, said: "We know there is a prehistoric Atlantis beneath the North Sea where once an area equal to the size of present-day Britain attached us to the Continent where prehistoric people and animals roamed."

"It is potentially an area for exploration and this discovery gives us a stepping stone into this unknown world."
 

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<font color='#000F22'>How do they know?

I thought Newcastle was still in the Stone Age anyway?

Sorry Stevie  
 

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<font color='#FF7F00'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Dr Penny Spikins, a lecturer at Newcastle University, stumbled on the latest find while learning to scuba dive last month.
NOW for the truth.....They knew where to look in the first place, her further studies and research had giving her a more exact position to search.

Archaeological student first, then learn to dive to better thier research skills.


How many learn to dive 500 yds offshore ? and stumble across something like this..food for thought.........

Andy.
 
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I'm afraid it was I who taught Penny to dive a couple of months ago, since when she's clocked up over 25 hours underwater - not bad!

During the dives I kept showing her interesting bits of flint knowing it was her field of research only to be told that they were not what she was looking for and that we were in the wrong part of the world anyway.

Next thing you know she's all over the national media as the discoverer of some sort of Geordie Atlantis and does the lowly dive instructor get a mention...does he pollacks!

As to why we were 500 yds offshore Andy, never let your students navigate!

Yours in obscurity,

Kev
 

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<font color='#FF7F00'>LOL @ cpt,,,,,,,

Well thats down to the instructor that taught them ,,,:O

Only kidding,,,, we say down here , IF you think ya lost, swim NORTH til ya hit the beach,,,,,,,, ya be suprised how many Dsmb's i follow in to the shipping lanes trying to hit the FRENCH beaches.

Andy
 
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