Pre-Neolithic

 

760 Palaeolithic hand axe

Amongst the objects recovered were a number of flints dating to the end of the last Ice Age (10,000 BC). 
 
A far older object, a Palaeolithic (old stone age) cordate flint hand axe, around 300,000 years old, was found by a quarry worker in the extracted gravel. The true location of the hand axe is not known, although it is known to be far older than the gravel terrace deposit that it probably derived from.
 
Excavations also revealed an assemblage of flints dating to the end of the last Ice Age, a period which archaeologists call the Late Upper Palaeolithic (12,000-10,000 BC). At this time Britain was still joined to mainland Europe.
 

 

767 768 Excavating a flint scatter

Many of the flints, from ‘long’ or ‘bruised-blade’ industries, were located within the vicinity of an old river channel, whilst others were recovered from a layer of old soil that had survived in a slight hollow. The long blades would have been used as knives and may have been brought to the site by people hunting and gathering along the rivers Colne and Thames.
 
A number of flints were recovered from hollows left by fallen trees, whilst a significant flint scatter comprising a number of blades, cores and burins (for working antler and bone) was found, believed to be of Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic date (12,000-4000 BC). The distribution of the flints suggests an area of tool manufacture.