Two bridges found at Meadow Lake

The bridges running out from the side of the valleyThe bridges running out from the side of the valleyThe reservoirs and the lake were created in the floodplain of the River Blackwater, a tributary of the River Test. Below the pasture lay gravels deposited by the rivers.
 
Meadow Lake was the first area to be excavated by Southern Water and mechanical diggers were used to remove the soil. As one driver operating the digger carried out his work, he noticed timbers buried deep in the gravels.
 
The driver alerted Wessex Archaeology’s staff and they began excavating the timbers. They turned out to be the remains of what were at first thought to be two jetties, dating to the Middle Bronze Age, around 1,500BC. The timbers had been driven Recording a timber at TestwoodRecording a timber at Testwoodinto the bed of a river which has since changed its course, probably what is now the Blackwater.
 
In total, 79 foundation piles survived, some up to 3.5 metres (13 feet) high, well enough preserved that the marks left by the tools of the prehistoric carpenters could still be seen.
 
The top of the piles had either rotted away or washed downstream long ago, but the rest of the piles had been gradually covered by silts and gravels, and preserved.
 
Even though the river had gradually moved away from its present course, the high water table of the area kept the timbers damp for thousands of years, stopping them from turning to dust.
 
After careful analysis, archaeologists decided that the piles, mainly oak, but with some alder and ash, were actually two bridges, one a replacement for the other, probably as the first rotted or was washed away.
 
In 1998 another bridge was found nearby in Testwood Lake, which was the earliest complete bridge in England.