| 2 September 2010
Flint tools found during road repairs in England
Archaeological remains dating back to the last Ice Age have been found during work to upgrade a major road, the Highways Agency said. The remains, along with Iron Age and Roman settlements, were uncovered during work to upgrade the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool in Nottinghamshire (England).
The British Highways Agency said the finds included ancient flint tools and flint knapping debris dating back to about 11,000 BCE - around the end of the last Ice Age when Stone Age hunter-gatherers returned as the climate began to warm up. A46 Highways Agency project manager Geoff Bethel said: "To uncover such rare flint tools dating back to the end of the Ice Age was very exciting." The pieces of flint found at Farndon show these people were making things out in the open, possibly in a temporary campsite, the Highways Agency said.
The excavations also provided insight into the Iron Age and Roman communities that used to live in the area. Evidence of an Iron Age settlement at Owthorpe Junction, just east of Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire, was uncovered, and a 4,000 year old Neolithic circular monument with eight Bronze Age burials was found further north at Stragglethorpe junction.
Phil Harding, Stone Age expert and presenter of Channel 4's Time Team, worked on the excavations as a field archaeologist for Cotswold Wessex Archaeology. He said: "Among the findings was a piece from a Neolithic axe made of greenstone, a type of stone from the Lake District. "It was very distinctive, only a chip the size of a stamp, but exciting nonetheless. Overall, there were enough bits and pieces to suggest we have evidence of hunting people, gathering, camping, and visiting the confluence of two rivers right through to the time of the first farmers."
Jon Humble, English Heritage's regional Inspector of Ancient Monuments, added: "More than a hundred archaeologists have worked very closely with the road designers, highway engineers and earth-moving contractors to ensure that important archaeological remains have been properly recorded and recovered.
Sources: The Independent, Telegraph.co.uk (26 August 2010), Daily Mail (27 August 2010)
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