Place Services was commissioned by the Billericay Archaeological and Historical Society to undertake a research project on the Mesolithic in Essex. Our understanding of the Mesolithic in the county has largely been in abeyance since the publication of the Jacobi paper on the topic in 1996 (in Bedwin 1996). However, it has become increasingly evident that there have been numerous finds of Mesolithic artefacts during the last 15 years, but these have been largely discovered as a by-product of excavation on sites predominately of a different date. In addition, Hazel Martingell, the foremost flint specialist in the county, has undertaken an extensive search and assessment of the Mesolithic flints held by various museums and private collections (ranging from small local museums and collections to the British Museum), this data has been collated by the Historic Environment team at Essex County Council, but not previously published. There have also been two significant recent discoveries of Mesolithic burials in the county, both identified through scientific dating techniques.
The project will be twofold:-
a) Updating and enhancing of the Mesolithic data on the Historic Environment Record in order to provide a solid analytical base for the publication and the development of distribution plans and gazetteer.
b) A published report in the Essex Archaeology and History Journal collating and assessing the existing Mesolithic data in order to present a up-to-date interpretation of the nature and extent of the evidence for this period in Essex.