Archaeological evidence at risk

Star Carr is an archeological site, five miles south of Scarborough. Image. Kirsty High.

Star Carr is an archeological site, five miles south of Scarborough. Image. Kirsty High.

Scientists at York believe that important archaeological evidence at wetland sites across the world, could be at serious and immediate risk.

The research harks back to the 1940s when the very first excavations at Star Carr revealed excellent preservation of organic materials.

Excavations from 2006-2007 then revealed an alarming level of both bone and wood deterioration in research conducted by York in conjunction with the University of Manchester.

At the time little was known about the timescale of deterioration or how quickly it had occurred.

In the first study of its kind, an assessment has been made on the changing environmental and geochemical conditions that affect the preservation of organic remains.Bone and marrow artefacts collected from the Star Carr Mesolithic site were analysed and compared to results from lab-based experimental burials.

From this, researchers are encouraging the archaeological community to reassess the assumed tradition of preserving sites such as Star Carr. Instead immediate evacuation should be considered.

Dr Kirsty High stressed that  “the short time scale of this experiment highlights the alarming rate”.

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