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28 January 2013
9,000-year-old remains discovered in England

Archaeologists have proved for the first time that people started living in the Didcot area, 90 kilometres west of London, as early as 9,000 years ago. Rob Masefield, director of archaeology at RPS Planning, said one of the most important discoveries was hundreds of flints dating to the Mesolithic period: "...these were working flints used around campfires about 9,000 years ago." Oxford Archaeology project manager Steve Lawrence added: "The site demonstrates about 1,000 years of continuous settlement."
     Investigations in 2011 unearthed finds including a complete Neolithic bowl from about 3600 BCE. Excavations in 2012 revealed a rare example of a late Neolithic to early Bronze Age ceremonial pond barrow from about 2000 BCE, containing arrowheads. The two-and-a-half-year dig has also uncovered the remains of a Roman villa, a piece of Roman pottery featuring a face design, and located a large Iron Age hilltop settlement with up to 60 roundhouses. Hundreds of grain storage pits, human burials, domestic rubbish, pottery dumps and animal bones have been found as well.
     The Cornerstone Arts Centre in Didcot is staging an exhibition on the dig from February 7 to March 3, 2013.

Edited from Herald Series (22 January 2013)

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