Wednesday was another day guest-digging at one of Mattias Pettersson & Roger Wikell’s sites in the Tyresta woods, this one in the huge denuded area of the great forest fire. Otherworldly scenery! It’s the unusually high site discussed here three years ago by Mattias. And since we’re dealing with seal hunters in an area with swift shoreline displacement, it’s in all likelihood the oldest of the lot: 10 000 years, give or take half a millennium. It’s so old that it’s pre-stone-axe. The characteristic greenstone flakes left over from the making of Mesolithic axes don’t go as high as this.
The finds are all quartz (and a single chip of precious imported flint). And I saw quartz objects that I’ve never seen before. Just in my two tiny excavation squares I found the site’s first microblade, a large unusual biface with a notch at the end (top left below) and something that looked a lot like a trapezoid microlith. The guys just smiled wryly and said “There’s no such thing as a quartz microlith, ask anybody.” But what really struck me was the first series of standardised formal quartz tools I’ve ever seen. Size, shape, production method – all the same.
The Early Mesolithic type Tyresta semi-discoid quartz blade knife. Despite the fact that quartz fractures in an almost unpredictable manner. These people really knew how to work it, bringing chunks of it on their sealing expeditions to the remote group of tiny islands that is now the heights of Tyresta.