Spodden Valley has one of the richest concentrations of hunter-gather tools in Europe, and YOU can help us survey the valley to find more.

It is notoriously difficult to find evidence of hunter-gatherers, because they led nomadic lifestyles, constantly moving around to exploit the resources in different areas. The area around Spodden Valley, however, has one of the richest concentrations of hunter-gather sites in Europe. You can help us survey the valley and find them.

Approximately 10,000 years ago, the Spodden Valley was part of the Forest of Rossendale, which covered a huge area of 22,000 acres. This period of time is known as the Mesolithic, or ‘Middle Stone Age’, commonly accepted as 11,000 to 5,500 years before present. During this time, people lived nomadically, constantly on the move to follow food sources. Because they did not settle in one area, evidence of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers is difficult to find in the archaeological record.

The hunter-gatherers who came to the Spodden Valley area left behind what archaeologists call ‘flint scatters’, which means a collection of flint artefacts found on the surface of the ground . Anyone who has ever tried flint knapping (and we have!) will know that there’s a lot of debris (called ‘debitage’), and the process is quite difficult. There is a lot of waste material, such as flint cores (the larger flint object that was struck to get useful flakes and blades) and the waste flakes struck off the cores. This debris remains on the ground, and is then buried over thousands of years. Erosion of the ground surface sometimes reveals the flint in situ where it was originally left, and this is known as a flint scatter.

Recently, Mesolithic flint artefacts were found near Spodden at Rushy Hill, including knives, scrapers, arrowheads and spear tips. This is an excellent start to our hunt for archaeology, but we think there’s plenty more – it’s time to get out there and survey the valley, to locate as many flint scatters and hunting camps as possible.

DigVentures is assembling a team of people from the area to join our survey and hunt for more evidence of Mesolithic activity. We’ll be spending a whole week doing intensive surveying: field walking the moors with our resident expert, learning how to look for and identify the archaeology we’re after. You don’t need to have any previous archaeological experience, as we’ll be teaching you everything you need to know. All you need is bags of enthusiasm and a decent set of outdoor shoes!

If you’re interested in signing up, click here.