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Lunt Meadows, an ancient village?


On Thursday the 12th of October 2017, the group welcomed Ron Cowell, MCIfA, who is on the staff of Museum of Liverpool, as Curator of Prehistoric Archaeology and is a specialist in the prehistoric archaeology, landscape archaeology and wetlands of North West England.

His excellent explanation working from memory to explain the photographs he showed enthralled our members.

An exciting evening, where the road network delays caused a slight delay so we had tea before the meeting started, and eventually with a working projector, we had to rely on Ron’s memory and exceptional knowledge. The magic lantern modern style photos were very well explained and left the audience thirsting for more.

 Lecturer visitor member at Day of Archeaology thIS3N3LAZ


 Ron Cowell, and volunteers at site. 


 More photographs of site at bottom of page, before the 'links'  to other websites with information on this site.

The videos (Vimeo & YouTube links below, videos by others) are recommended for viewing.



Lunt Meadows is a site in Sefton. Lancashire where in 2012 Ron Cowell found evidence of structures and a way of life we little understood and much is added to our knowledge by the recent work of staff and volunteers excavating the area including a possible ritual marking by stones including an Iron Pyrites lump as central marker; as well as  its use as a survival and shelter place.


Location Map. Lunt Meadows Nature Reserve, nr Crosby, Merseyside, L29 7WL.

 Location Google Maps Capture


Volunteers and visitors get an explaination of the site.


Photo from website:


 Ron Cowell explains to volunteers including Dr. Jessi Halligan Mesolithic07 768x559


Website blog by Halligan; “I am an artist/photographer with an interest in archaeology, history and psychogeography..”

A photograph of the site at evening with birds from website:

 R Cowell post visitors bird like landscape and site2


 Ron Cowell' site photo with birds.

 lunt meadows plan of excavations

 Excavation map


 some of the elaborately arranged pebbles laid around the fools gold


 Elaborately placed stones arround the central 'object' .


 The Village

The ‘village’ had huts and perhaps a ritual site with a central ‘fool’s gold’ iron pyrites stone surrouded by placed smaller stones over a period of time in aritual arrangement. A considerable stone toolkit was found in various types of tools. The site dates to about 8000 years ago,[5.800BC per radio carbon dating] in the Mesolithic period, when groups of hunter-gatherers lived in the flood-plain of the River Alt leaving behind relatively well-preserved traces of a series of building floors dotted with pits in two defined, adjacent areas. Finds include many burnt hazel nuts, stone tools, burnt wood and a special arrangement of stones round a central iron pyrites large lump ion a 'table' or 'flooring' of flat stones. 


Notes of a visit to site. (includes above site map. and much interesting detail.)
A very personal blog on a visit to the excavation site with the above map of excavaion is given on “Gerry’s” website. Gerry is a retired college teacher living in Liverpool, UK. Website published July 27, 2016.



The finds are given on website:


 LP Museum lunt meadows axeLP Museum arrowheads and piercing implements lunt meadowsLP Museum lunt meadows polished pebble toolLunt visitor shown tool Capture

Above are: flint axe; arrowheads and piercing tools; a polished pebble; a flint in volunteer’s hand.
The burnt wood pictures are at the bottom of the web page.

Refer to above website for a fuller detail on the finds.

Ron Cowell’s article on Day of Archaeology.


The Museum of Liverpool Project Website
Liverpool Museums site gives an overview , the settlement and the finds.


An overall view is given in two “YouTube” videos of broadcasts in 2012.
Video Links:
The folowing video links to YouTube BBC items are interesting and show the excitement of the dig at its age confirmation.

Opening Day. [Silent video.]

BBC Video
BBC North West Inside Out episode on Lunt Meadows, November 2012
on YouTube: (This author considers this video to be well worth watching for the excitement of the age announcement.)


Video of site interview and age announcement.

An overseas visitor's opinion.
Enjoying archaeology as a volunteer from overseas at this site. Refer to website:

Sieving the mesolithic blog by By Dr. Jessi Halligan / 08.05.2016
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Florida State University


The site is part of a flood storage reservoir, and the excavations came about during its development and its subsequent use as a nature reserve.

Site work funding .
Archaeological excavations at Lunt Meadows were commissioned and funded by the Environment
Agency, supported by National Museums Liverpool ahead of the transformation of farmland in the Alt valley, Sefton into a wetland reserve and flood alleviation scheme.

The Official opening day of wetland reserve.

Saturday 23 July 2016 marked the official opening of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s
newest nature reserve, Lunt Meadows, near Sefton.
This included events surrounding the archaeological discoveries at Lunt Meadows under Ron Cowell in conjuction with the National Festival of Archaeology and Ron Cowell of the Museum of Liverpool was on hand giving some talks about the settlement that was here at Lunt in the Stone Age. Today the CLHG members and visitors had a very good view of the results of these achtivities with Rob Cowell’s explanations and the culmanation of many years of work by him in that area.

Website: Lancashire Wildlife Trust:


Nature Reserve.
The launch of the nature reserve and the completion of a range of works funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Veolia Environmental Trust has seen bird watching screens and signage installed, gates and pathways added and fencing to allow grazing over the reserves wet meadows.
Lunt Meadows covers 67 hectares and has been transformed from fields of cereals and oil seed rape into a mix of wet grassland, reedbed, pools and open channels.

Flood Storage Reservoir.
The site was created by the Environment Agency as a flood storage reservoir and is designed to capture flood waters from the River Alt in times of high flow. It is managed by the Trust as a nature reserve and is already proving very popular with visitors due to its rich array of wildlife, which ranges from wetland and wading birds, to colourful dragonflies and butterflies. It was during this work that the Lunt Meadows Mesolithic site was uncovered.


(Extracted from the references websites and all copyrights acknowledged. Museum of Liverpool images under CC by SA)

 Birds Snapshot 4 05 08 2016 16 30


 Conjuring Blog Peat deposits overlay the lighter sandy soils of the Mesolithic at Lunt Meadows lunt meadows layers

 The Peat deposit 


Liverpool Museums Blog copy P1000426


 Site photos with excavators working. 


 LP Museuam site under exploration download


 Ron Cowell explains to volunteers including Dr. Jessi Halligan Mesolithic07 768x559


 Visitors and volunteers listen to details of site.


 excavated burnt wood

 Excavated burn wood.

burnt wood in ground

 Burnt wood  still in the ground, before excavation.


Replica Houises. (DIY style).

Replicated mesolithic houses based on the post holes constructed by folk from Phoenix Futures, Wirral, who constructed two Mesolithic-type structures for the Open Day. Pictures from Ron Cowell's article on Day of Archaeology.

House 1 smallfile

 house 2 smallfile


Formby Civic Society.

Formby Civic Society has an article with many pictures from their day trip to site on their Flickr web page.

Link to Photos on Formby Civic Society Flickr page


Further study websites. Links:

Opening Day

see links to may websites concerned witgh wetlands and Sefton



Gardian Report Monday 19th November 2012 by Maev Kennedy.


Flooding risk.
This includes a video of the Alt river busting its banks.


Lancashire Wildlife Trust

Dredging Today announcement. (Site gets into many non archaeological articles.)


The Megalithic Portal report


LiverPool Museaum Blog post marked Lunt-Meadows-Washland-c13


Excavations Photos report

Photos on Formby Civic Society Flickr page

Sieving the mesolithic blog.

Blog of Liverpool visitor Gerry to site.


BBC Video
BBC North West Inside Out episode on Lunt Meadows, November 2012 on YouTube


BBC North West Video


JMU Journalism TV Channel 27 Nov 2012
New theories from Lunt Meadows.


UCD University Colledge Dublin
Recreating a mesolithic house


Education video of mesolithic life


Picture of speaker, visitor & member from:



 The members of Culcheth Local History Group and their visitors wish to thank Ron Cowell for his talk, and also to all his staff and volunteers over the years whose hard work made the discovery and the talk possible.