Berkshire’s first housing development

The excavations have revealed some of the most significant evidence for occupation during the early Neolithic period (4000-3300 BC) in England. The findings have made Horton one of the most important Neolithic sites currently under investigation in the country.

 
797 Reconstruction of one of the Neolithic houses
 
By this time Britain was an island and people had started to grow crops and keep animals. Evidence for settlement from this period is ordinarily very rare. However, a total of four Neolithic structures have been found on the site to date, representing some of England’s oldest houses. In southern England, to find one house would be exceptional but to find multiple examples makes this an important site. Of course not all of our structures are necessarily of the same date; they could represent the houses or feasting halls of a small community that shifted location over one or more generations, perhaps as decay set in. Further analysis and radiocarbon dates will aid their understanding and chronology.
 
800
The structures represent two different styles of construction, but all were rectangular. Two of the buildings were post-built, relatively small and with limited artefactual and dating evidence. The remaining two had foundation trenches, which appear to have supported upright wooden posts and planks. Postholes in each corner and two in the centre were associated with internal partitions dividing the interior into two rooms. These may have supported an upper storey in parts of the houses. We have very little idea of how the structures would have looked above ground. They may have had pitched roofs covered with thatch or turf.
 

801

Artefactual evidence from the buildings suggests they were used, at least for some of the time, as houses. Pottery of Early Neolithic date (3800-3350 BC), burnt flint, fragments of animal bone, flint working waste and a number of worked flint tools were recovered from the buildings. Charcoal and charred plant remains, including cereal grain and hazelnut shell were also found. Other finds include leaf-shaped arrowheads, rubbing stones, a polished bone point (or awl) fragment and a polished stone flake from an axe made in Cumbria.
 
Associated video links: