Ice Age economic migrants in Europe unearthed

After being hidden for nearly 15,000 years, the lives of Ice Age hunter-gatherers who migrated to Europe to benefit from warmer climes are to be revealed in an archaeological dig at a very rare site in Bradgate Park.

The Bradgate Park Trust has commissioned the University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) to begin a new stage of work on a rare Late Upper Palaeolithic site at Bradgate Park in October, following an assessment that revealed in situ deposits containing an assemblage of worked flint. The site is anticipated to yield thousands more flint artefacts, including tools such as projectile points, scrapers, knives and piercers.

Analysis of the flint scatter suggests that different activity zones may be identifiable, giving the archaeologists an understanding of the dynamics of life at the camp site some 14,700 years ago.

Lynden Cooper, Principal Investigator on the project, said: “The people who left behind these clues were members of a small group of pioneer mobile hunter gatherers who repopulated north-west Europe towards the end of the last Ice Age with the rapid onset of a warmer climate (the Lake Windermere Interstadial) and the development of open grassland vegetation.

“They were re-colonising lands that had been lost for circa 10,000 years - economic migrants in a period of rapid global climate change, if you like."

Bradgate Park is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its rare geology, and very special ancient parkland and wet heath habitats.  It is also a Country Park and is included on the register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.