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Early Prehistoric Sites

Biggleswade Sewage Treatment Works, Beds / Whitsundoles Farm, Beds / Buckden Quarry, Cambs

reconstruction of the henge at Buckden

A number of recent excavations have uncovered evidence of early prehistoric life in the region, including two ritual monuments, at Biggleswade and Buckden, which, although not as large as Stonehenge, would nevertheless have been major features in the prehistoric landscape.

excavations at Biggleswade sewage works

Biggleswade Sewage Treatment Works, Beds

During trial trenching we uncovered part of a Neolithic cursus, a ritual monument comprising an elongated oval enclosure surrounded by massive ditches. This was the first time that a Neolithic cursus has been excavated in Bedfordshire, using modern archaeological techniques. Aerial photographs of the area show that this monument, visible as a crop mark, continues for at least 750m to the east of the development area. A Bronze Age barrow was also investigated. It had been placed close to the earlier monument, probably still prominent at that time.
The original building plans for the extension of the sewage works were altered to avoid unnecessary damage to the important archaeological remains recorded at the site.
(Client: Anglian Water Services Ltd.)
Bronze Age beaker

Whitsundoles Farm, Beds

Fragments of a Bronze Age Beaker vessel with comb impressed decoration were recovered from a small pit during a watching brief, prior to quarrying. Previous excavations in the adjoining area at Salford had uncovered the remains of an Iron Age settlement and traces of earlier Bronze Age and Neolithic evidence. It seems that this early prehistoric activity was scattered throughout the area of the quarry.
(Client: Aggregate Industries Ltd.)

detail of the 'sacred oak'

Buckden Quarry, Cambs

A ditch enclosing a tree-root hole may have been the site of a Bronze Age tree cult. The small, circular enclosure, from the earliest phase of the site, was a simple type of ‘henge’ (without standing stones) that was probably a local focus for ritual activity. Was the ditch defining sacred space around a ‘magical’ tree? Prehistoric field boundaries and evidence of Roman agriculture trenches were also found.
(Client: Lafarge Aggregates Ltd.)

 

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