Fascinating Somerset Facts

Hunters of the Middle Stone Age

23 Jul 2021

Hunters of the Middle Stone Age
The islands and hills remaining above sea level provided rich hunting grounds and their characteristic microliths have been found widely scattered about this area. One of these islands was at Greylake near Middlezoy where two skulls from an open-air cemetery have been radiocarbon dated to the early Mesolithic period about 8,400 B.C. This is 5,600 years older than Stonehenge.
Although such cemeteries are known in continental Europe, virtually all other human bones of similar age found in Britain are in caves such as Aveline’s Hole in the Mendip Hills. Many flint tools were found at the Greylake site, showing that a hunter gatherer group was operating from the island and burying its dead there. No other site in the country has this combination of human remains and tool evidence.
The history of the remains

Five skulls were recovered but three of the five skulls were lost, possibly during bombing of the Royal College of Surgeons in the Second World War. The only other remains that relate to the cemetery are four human shin bones in the collection of the Museum of Somerset.
The Blake Museum, Bridgwater

Blake Museum is a 16th century house located in the heart of Bridgwater, a historic market town and port, first mentioned as Brugie in the Domesday Book of 1086. The Museum was first opened to the public in 1926 and it is said that Robert Blake, the town's most famous citizen, was born in the house in 1598.

With the collections covering Bridgwater and the surrounding areas, there are fascinating displays waiting for you to discover.

The Museum is owned by the Bridgwater Town Council and is run entirely by volunteers. The museum is located in Blake Street, in Bridgwater. Please see https://www.bridgwatermuseum.org.uk/ for more details

Image credit: Somerset County Council/South West Heritage Trust
Open Map
Close Map