Lunt Meadow is close to Formby beach, where scores of trails of ancient human and animal footprints have been discovered preserved in the silty mud. Photograph: Colin Mcpherson/Corbis
It will come as no surprise to proud Merseysiders, but a recent discovery of worked flints and charred timber suggests that when stone age people reached Lunt Meadows, a beautiful site at Sefton, they liked it so much that instead of continuing as nomadic hunter-gatherers, they settled down and built permanent dwellings.
Archaeologists are still working on the site, discovered this summer during work for the Environment Agency, but preliminary carbon-dating results suggest that they are almost 8,000 years old, from the Mesolithic period, and come from at least three structures, suggesting family groups living together in a settlement which may have lasted for centuries.
As well as the worked flint, and large pebbles with a partly polished surface showing they were used as tools, the archaeologists have found quantities of chert stone which is not local, but must have been specially imported – the nearest site would be across the estuary, in what is now north Wales.
Archaeologist Ron Cowell called the discoveries "fascinating". He added: "It looks as if we have the remains of three houses, or structures, which were very substantial, up to six metres across. They fit an emerging body of recent evidence, challenging the traditional view of people of this period as constantly on the move. Our site suggests that they had permanent structures which at the least they repeatedly returned to for part of the year."
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