Stone Age String; Found in the Mud: The Ancient
Byline: NEIL SEARS
HOW old is a piece of string? In this case, 8,000 years - making it the oldest length of string ever found in Britain.
Our ancestors made it by twisting together what seem to be fibres of honeysuckle, nettles, or wild clematis, and used it in their struggle for survival as the last ice age ended.
This early piece of technology, measuring about 4 1/2in must have been a revolutionary advance at the time, useful for binding together weapons or tools.
It has only survived thanks to the huge floods that followed the melting of the ice caps that once covered much of Britain.
It was discovered by archaeologists examining an under sea site 200 yards off the coast of the Isle of Wight, some 30 feet below sea level.
The experts say that 8,000 years ago, in the Stone Age, hunter gatherers had a camp there. They believe the string was found in the remains of what could be Britain's oldest boat yard.
When the glaciers melted, however, the whole area was inundated as sea levels rose - a scenario repeated in coastal areas across the globe, providing, some claim, the source of the Noah's Ark story.
This underwater dig was carried out by the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology, led by Gary Momber. The prehistoric village - wooden remains of which were seen by chance by divers - seems to have been close to where the Solent estuary once was.
Divers cut blocks of sediment from the sea bed and brought them to the surface for analysis. Preserved within one was the string.
The results of the underwater dig have now been published in British Archaeology magazine. …