Stone Age man used to live at Berkshire sewage works - prehistoric flintwork and signs of Roman settlement found near Kintbury

Nov 08, 2006

Ten millennia-worth of history have been unearthed by Thames Water at one of its sewage treatment works in Berkshire.

Stone Age flintwork dating back to 8,000 BC has been discovered at the site near Kintbury, along with pieces of a Bronze Age urn, burnt bone and charcoal, suggesting the land was subsequently used for burial rituals. Shards of late Iron Age pottery were also discovered, clustered in pits and ditches.

The remains of three bread ovens, complete with hearth, flue and furnace, prove that the Romans also settled the area and evidence of two large gateposts indicates that visitors to the Roman community would have had to pass through an imposing entrance.

Dr. Roy Entwhistle, an archaeologist working for Thames Water, said: "Given how quiet this corner of the Kennet Valley is today, it’s remarkable to think that so many different people have called it home over the last ten thousand years.
We knew there had been Roman settlement in the area as a bathing house dating from that period was discovered by a schoolteacher on a nearby field in the 1950s.
The discovery of the bread ovens and the gateposts suggest the bathing house would have been part of a large, working Roman community, living near the London to Bath road.
We were particularly pleased to discover the Mesolithic flintwork which would have been used by hunter-gatherers to fashion tools. Finding these prehistoric collections undisturbed is rare in Southern England."

Thames Water's Conservation Scientist, Jonathan Taylor, said: "Whenever we dig in an area of archaeological interest - such as Kintbury - we make sure that we recover any artefacts so they can be recorded and made available for future generations.
We are delighted to have been able to shed light on the rich history of this area. The pottery and flintwork will now be cleaned up and donated to the West Berkshire museum for everyone to enjoy."

Thames Water unearthed the artefacts prior to a major project to improve the sewage treatment works. Over the next four months, a plant to further improve the quality of the treated wastewater and two storage tanks will be installed at the site.


Further information:
Thames Water Utilities Ltd.
Nicola Savage
Email: Nicola.Savage@thameswater.co.uk
Web: www.thameswater.co.uk

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