University of Lincoln excavation discovers 11,000-year-old tools

Hundreds of flint tools thought to be 11,000 years old and described as a “significant” find have been uncovered as part of excavation work at the site of a new development at the University of Lincoln.

During a month-long dig at the Brayford Pool campus, Allen Archaeology Ltd unearthed finely made flint tools, including small cutting blades just a few centimetres in length, from a 25m by 3m hole which is three metres deep.

It has been excavated to make way for the foundations of the new Isaac Newton Building.

The artefacts are believed to be from the Mesolithic period, dating back to between 9000 and 4500BC.

They are thought to have been created and used by people who would come and go seasonally to the south of what is now the city of Lincoln.

Photo: University of Lincoln

Photo: University of Lincoln

Allen Archaeology Ltd , which carried out the work, said that such finds from that period are uncommon, making their discovery important.

Kevin MacDonald, project manager at the University of Lincoln, said: “We know that the Brayford Pool area has a rich history so we take our responsibilities to preserving its archaeology very seriously with every major new capital project on our campus.

“These archaeological excavations have been a real talking point already for students and visitors and we look forward to receiving the final survey report from our specialists, Allen Archaeology.

“The work itself is the first major step in construction of the second phase of the Isaac Newton Building which will provide state-of-the-art new facilities for teaching and research in computer science, engineering and mathematics and physics.”

The dig has involved excavating nearly 15,000 litres of soil, all of which is being carefully sieved to recover any finds.

Soil was collected using a grid system and electronic survey data was used to accurately document where individual finds came from, which will enable Allen Archaeology to reconstruct how the artefacts were distributed across the site.

The work of sifting through the buckets of soil began on site but will now continue off-site.

Prehistoric flint specialist Joshua Hogue Gavin Glover from Allen Archaeology

Prehistoric flint specialist Joshua Hogue Gavin Glover from Allen Archaeology

Gavin Glover, project manager at Allen Archaeology, said: “At present we have several hundred artefacts and the number is growing day by day. Most of the artefacts are finely made flint tools, particularly small cutting blades rather like tiny knives and no more than a few centimetres in length.

“We have also found waste chips of stone which were created by the manufacture of those tools. The tools are most likely to have been used by groups of people who lived a mobile existence utilising the resources in the area to the south of what is now Lincoln, before moving on elsewhere, possibly on a seasonal basis.

“The age of these finds means that they are not common archaeological discoveries and the quantity of material recovered and the information the work will provide is therefore of significance.”

Once all the archaeological work is completed the finds will be deposited at The Collection museum in Lincoln city centre.