6,000 years old elm leaf perfectly preserved

Feb 19 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 2/19/2020 10:20:09 AM IST

 A perfectly-preserved leaf that fell from an elm tree 6,000 years ago has been discovered intact in Lancashire. Archaeologists found the leaf while clearing a plot of land just outside Blackpool in preparation for a new A-road bypass. The leaf was discovered among a selection of other Stone Age tools and pottery.

The archaeological finds unearthed from peat and clay date to between the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronzes ages, stretching back as far as 14,000 years.  Highways England revealed the three-mile A585 dual carriageway will take traffic around Little Singleton. The project is also designed to improve the junctions at Windy Harbour and Skippool.

The haul of items found at the site also includes ancient pollen, wood, leaves and hazelnuts to signs of burnt seeds. A pointy shard of stone which may be the tip of an arrow head, was also unearthed.  All items will go on display at local venues to raise awareness and support of the £100million construction project.  

Oxford Archaeology was conducting pre-construction ground investigations for the project last year when it uncovered the prehistoric leaf. Tools found at the site include worked flint and chert blades (left),  stone tools of either Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (pre 3800 BC) or Neolithic first farmers (after about 3800 BC). The two grey pieces on the right are fragments of a Neolithic polished stone axe +5

Lead archaeologist Fraser Brown said the finds were of national significance with no precedent for such finds in the area.The coastal region is today boggy and Windy Harbour, at the eastern end of the planned bypass, is more than six miles from the sea. But this patch of land may have been underwater when the leaf first fell to Earth. This region may well have been fished by hunter gatherers and then, as the land emerged from the sea, settled by early farmers. Mr Brown said: 'We have found extensive deposits of peat and marine clays which have helped preserve ancient plant remains and which yield information on the local vegetation, water, climate, and human activity. 'We've also found pottery, stone tools and charred remains providing direct evidence for Mesolithic hunter-gatherers foraging, and possibly camping, at the water's edge and later on, Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers living on the fringes of a salt marsh.'

(Joe Pinkstone for Mailonline)


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