Some of the most extraordinary finds to date from the late Mesolithic have been made at Lydstep, Pembrokeshire,
which allow us a rare snapshot of a transitory moment in prehistory. In 1917 a pig skeleton, dated to 6,300
years ago, was found trapped beneath a tree trunk, with two broken flint points in its neck. It appears that
it eluded its hunters, only to die later of its wounds in the cover of the forest. Although many finds of
animal bone have been retrieved from deposits associated with the submerged forests, it is very rare to find
clear signs of hunting.
Further exciting discoveries were made at Lydstep in 2010 when a local resident contacted Dyfed Archaeological
Trust to report footprints on the beach close to the location of the pig skeleton discovery. The Trust recorded
red deer hoof prints preserved in the surface of a solidified peat deposit that once formed the floor of a
shallow lagoon in the later Mesolithic. Human footprints were also present, including those of children, their
prints deeply embedded into the peat as if they had stood patiently waiting in one place – perhaps as
part of a hunting party laying ambush in the reeds around the watering hole?
The footprints were recorded by the Trust and the RCAHMW in the spring of 2010, and will be fully reported
on during 2011.
Eight-year old Catrin Murphy stands near the preserved footprints created by a similar aged child
some 6000 years ago
Lydstep Report (PDF format
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