Yorkshire Museum

Ritual or Disguise: The Star Carr Headdresses

The 11,000 year old headdresses of Star Carr have stirred the imagination since they were first discovered in the 1950s.

In 2015, more of the deer frontlets were found at the Mesolithic Site in North Yorkshire.

This new ‘Spotlight’ display features four headdresses never seen in public before together with new research by the University of York. This will reveal interesting new findings about the frontlets and reignite the questions of why they were made and what this tells us about the lives of the people of Yorkshire 11,000 years ago.

The display will also include the Star Carr pendant; found in 2015, this 11,000 year old engraved shale pendant was discovered by archaeologists during excavations at the Early Mesolithic site at Star Carr in North Yorkshire. Engraved motifs on Mesolithic pendants are extremely rare and no other engraved pendants made of shale are known in Europe.

The artwork on the tiny fragile pendant, uncovered by a research team from the Universities of York, Manchester and Chester, is the earliest known Mesolithic art in Britain. Crafted from a single piece of shale, the subtriangular three-millimetre thick artefact measuring 31mm by 35mm contains a series of lines which archaeologists believe may represent a tree, a map, a leaf or even tally marks.