7,000 years before campervans pulled on to the West Cliff, it has emerged that Whitby was a popular tourist destination among cavemen.
Following recent investigations a team of archaeologists have discovered litter from a prehistoric campsite near Goldsborough that suggests tourism may actually be Whitby’s oldest industry.
Rachel Grahame, from Tees Archaeology, said 450 flint fragments were uncovered at the site when it was visited in September. She explained that many of the finds were burnt, suggesting they were probably used in a campsite by an ancient tribe who were passing through the area.
“Mesolithic people have always been thought of as nomadic and in many places the only sign of their presence is tiny fragments of flint,” said Rachel.
Recent discoveries such as Star Carr near Scarborough have given the Yorkshire coast a reputation as a hotbed for prehistoric finds. Fieldwalking and geophysical survey have been used to identify the site at Goldsborough and it is proposed to carry out limited excavations in the spring to look for more evidence of hearths and buildings. Rachel added: “It’s very exciting to think that we may find similar archaeological remains here.”
Over 7,000 years ago the people who lived in the area survived by moving around, hunting and herding animals, catching fish and living off fruits and anything else they could find. They probably revised some locations time and time again. The evidence of the activities of these Mesolithic people is difficult to find and usually comprises the remains of the flint and wooden tools they used to hunt their prey and work skins.
The project is being carried out by Tees Archaeology and the North York Moors National Park Authority with the help of local volunteers and funding from English Heritage.
Regular updates about the project can be found on the Tees Archaeology website, www.teesarchaeology.com