Finding Flints

When the glaciers retreated at the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago they deposited a layer, known as the Glacial Till. Immediatley above this till layer at Low Hauxley sits an ancient soil layer and the Rescued from the Sea excavations found this to be packed with evidence of some of the very first people to inhabit the area after the Ice Age. They found flints. Thousands upon thousands of tiny flint blades, known as microliths, covering the soil surface. These little blades would have been assembled into wooden or other mounts to form cutting tools or even spears for catching fish.

There was an interesting concentration of flnts in a 6m long scooped area on the site which also contained a number of hazelnut shells which were radiocarbon dated and suggested the site could have been in use between 8000 and 7650 BC. Perhaps the scoop represents the bulding and re-building of a tent area where the manufacture of the flint tools took place? This discovery places this Mesolithic activity at Hauxley at around the same time as that at Howick, a number of miles to the north, where an excavation on a significant Mesolithic house took place.

The Northumberland coast must have been an important resource in ancient times.