Stoneage

IntroductionStoneageNeolithicRoman


New Stoneage Inhabitants

Earthworks do of course provide the first historical trace of manís existence in any given area, at least in Western Europe,  where the major cultural change from wandering herdsmen to settled farmer both established the need, and provided the opportunity (in the form of community surplus), for their existence.

The first record of habitation in the environs of Wraysbury was in BC 2500 when Neolithic man lived in a five acre causewayed camp which was defended by means of two circular rings of ditches. the site at O.S. 025 725 was first recognised from an aerial photograph in the South Bucks Planning Office by the "characteristic discontinuous ditches enclosing a regular circular area as at the type site at Windmill Hill on the Chalk Downs of North Wiltshire. The site of this earthwork differs from examples previously known as it is on a spit of gravel beside a stream in the Thames flood plain and is far to the east of other known causewayed camps" .

The site was excavated in 1961 by the Ministry of Works.  Within the area was found evidence of the work of able carpenters, potters, etc. The settled, as distinct from the nomadic, state being further illustrated by seeds found in the pottery sherds, remnants of sickles and bones of animals, pointing to a way of life dependant on the cultivation of crops and the domestication of livestock. Food must obviously have been plentiful because the inhabitants had not bothered to extract the marrow from the bones.

An interim report  on the excavation of the causewayed camp at Yeoveney reveals that there were in fact three occupations of the site:-

1.  Primary Neolithic, as described above.

2.  Secondary Neolithic - Peterborough Pottery being found in one section of the outer ditch, stratified above the Primary Neolithic pottery.

3.  Romano-British occupation - evidence found over the whole site .

The site was on a low knoll beside the small silted up river known as the County Boundary Ditch which flows into the nearby river Thames. The camp was slightly eroded on the south side by subsequent meandering of the County Boundary Ditch.  This site, together with that at Abingdon in Oxfordshire, are the only two known causewayed camps having a low riverine situation.  The outer ditch was 5.5 foot deep and 13 foot broad whilst the inner ditch was 4.5 foot deep and 8.5 foot broad.  Both were flat bottomed. There were seven causeways (undug portions of ditch) in the inner and five in the outer ditch.

CONTENTS

Introduction

Stoneage

Roman

Saxons and Normans

Magna Carta

Barons

Tudor

Manors

Georgian

Victorian

20th century

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The pottery finds are one of the largest obtained from a causewayed camp. This site and the one at Abingdon constitute two of the most intensively occupied causewayed camps in Britain. Evidence was found of post holes just inside the inner ditch. A complete polished flint axe located in the bone rubbish dump was superior in quality to that which could have been obtained from the local gravels and points to trade contacts. A greenstone axe chip was also found, this points to the Secondary Neolithic Axe Trade. 

These remains have now been destroyed by gravel workings.

 

The Middle Thames in Antiquity - R.F. Denington, S. Morgan and N. Catling.Archaeological Newsletter Vol. 7, No. 6 Jan/Feb 1962.

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