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Occupation during the Mesolithic would likely have been seasonal. The warmer climate enabled hunter gathering people rich supplies of food from local marshes such as Eel mires and Red mires in Maulds Meaburn, rivers such as the Lyvennet and Lune, and tarns such as Sunbiggin Tarn and Winter Tarn.

It is likely that seasonal parties would come up the Lune valley from the coast and would encamp, exploit an area and then move on to the next. They likely ate whatever they could catch in terms of crustaceans (crayfish), freshwater fish, moorland birds and waterfowl, small mammals such as rodents, rabbits, hares, hedgehogs, beavers etc. and fresh carrion in the form of larger animals like aurochs, ponies, deer and elk, that had been killed by carnivorous predators such as the wolves and bears that lived in the mature woodland. Hunters might have dressed in the skins of deer and donned antlers in order to facilitate their approach to their quarry and also in shamanic rituals.

Natural breaks in the woodlands by open water would likely be used as ambush points for the hunters. Springs that would well clean drinking water would have been important sources of food as well as the water itself.

Food for thought: Could the stone circle of Gunnerkeld (Hunter’s Spring) likely have provided cover for Mesolithic hunters as well as serving as a place to gather at festivals, make social contracts and worship their gods?

Microlithic core Microlithic blade Tools found near Shap Gunnerkeld by M6 southbound Mesolithic Westmorland Gunnerkeld sketch

Food for thought: Many microliths are so small that it has been suggested that they could only have really been made with child-sized hands!

Keep your eyes open around the mole heaps and rabbit warrens.

Westmorland Fells in Neolithic Times