Culverwell Mesolithic Floor, Isle of Portland3D Model
Culverwell is an important Mesolithic site near Portland Bill, Dorset dating c.7,500-8,500bp.
The site was discovered by Susann Palmer in 1966 after ploughing had uncovered large quantities of mollusc shells. Excavation was started by a small team of volunteers in 1967. Following the completion of the excavations in 1996, the majority of the site was backfilled except for one area which was left open and protected by a wooden shelter.
The main feature of the site is a shell midden, which lies within a natural gully thought to have formed after the last ice age (c.12,000 to 15,000bp). The midden and gully are sealed by a layer of limestone slabs, interpreted as a floor layer. Beneath this a small stone lined hole filled with midden material, including a pierced scallop shell and a chert axe, was found.
A total of 573 microliths were recovered during the excavations, along with numerous picks, scrapers, and flint flakes. Pierced shells were also recovered and these may have been used as jewellery.