A PROJECT to excavate what is believed to be Britain’s oldest house on the outskirts of Scarborough has been given more than £1 million in funding.
Archaeologists have secured the funding to excavate Star Carr, which was found in 2008 and dates back to 8,500BC.
Experts from the Universities of York and Manchester say the site, five miles south of Scarborough in Flixton, is deteriorating due to environmental changes.
As a result the European Research Council has given them £1.23 million to finish the work before information from the site is lost.
Nicky Milner, an archaeologist from the University York, who grew up in Hunmanby Gap, said the site was deteriorating rapidly.
She said: “The water table has fallen and the peat is shrinking and it is severely damaging the archaeology.
“The water keeps the oxygen and bacteria out and because they are now going into these deposits that is causing a lot of problems.
“We haven’t got much time left to excavate and we want to do some specialist analysis before all this important information vanishes forever.”
The site was first discovered in the 1940s and has since been the subject of extensive research.
The latest excavation led to the discovery of what would have been a 3.5 metre diameter house occupied by hunter gatherers about 11,000 years ago.
The discovery suggested that people from this era were more attached to settlements than had been previously thought.
Items such as the paddle of a boat, arrow tips, masks made from red deer skulls, and antler head-dresses which could have been used in rituals, have all been uncovered.
Star Carr would have been settled at the end of the last Ice Age and the team of archaeologists working on site believes it may also offer insights into how people reacted to climate change.