Mesolithic Age

At the end of the last Ice Age human migrants moved northwards through Europe as the ice retreated. As the overburden of ice decreased they land level rose faster than the sea level. This created land bridges between continental mainland and the islands. As the sea level eventually rose a string of islands was formed and later migrants would have been able to move into Ireland by island hopping. They occupied the river valleys and the coastal plains. These people existed by hunting and gathering. They were not true nomads but probably had at least two main places of settlement. A site suitable for hunting wild boar or for fishing may not have been suitable for gathering wild fruits and edible plants. This semi-nomadic lifestyle meant that Mesolithic Man did not have time to build permanent houses nor the large stone tombs which we associate with later generations. Excavations of Mesolithic sites have provided evidence of small round houses. In most cases only the post holes have survived. They probably had light wooden frameworks covered with thatch or sods. They could have been erected and dismantled quickly and easily. A modern copy of such a hut can be seen at the National Heritage Park. Mesolithic Man made flint tools and many examples have been found at excavated sites. They probably obtained the flint from nodules washed out of the chalk by coastal and river erosion. At the Curran Point, Larne, many flint flakes are still being found indicating that it was site of major importance to Mesolithic Man. They probably shaped their tools roughly near the site of the flint nodules and finished them off near their settlements leaving the detritus on the beach.

Replica Mesolithic hut in the National Heritage Park

Neolithic Age
Bronze Age
Iron Age and Early Christian Era
Medieval Ireland
Plantation Ireland and the Industrial Era

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