Horton quarry yields 'unprecedented' historical discovery

Published: 12 Mar 2013 17:30

AN UNPRECEDENTED historical discovery has been made in a quarry.

THIS BIG: Excavators mark out the size of one of the homes found at the Kingsmead Quarry. Credit Cemex UK

Archaeologists at the Kingsmead Quarry, in Stanwell Road, Horton, have unearthed the remains of four houses dating back 5,700 years ago- a discovery unprecedented in terms of the quantity of houses from that era found on a single site in England.

Excavators from Wessex Archaeology revealed the discovery on Tuesday last week (5/3) with radiocarbon dating confirming the age of one of the houses as from 3800-3640BC- the era when humans first began building permanent homes.

The discovery will help archaeologists and historians at a national level learn more about lifestyles and architecture in Neolithic times with a 3D model of what the homes may have looked like already designed.

Dr Alistair Barclay from Wessex Archaeology said: "These finds add to our knowledge of life in Neolithic times and how buildings at that date were constructed.

"Unfortunately only the ground plans have survived as any timber would have rotted away long ago.

"However, we have a good idea of what these structures may have looked like from the many house finds in Ireland, from experimental work reconstructing prehistoric buildings and- for wood working techniques- from timber-built walkways of the same date"

It is estimated the houses were built by pioneer farmers on the site which was ideal as it was close to woodland and the River Colne and was built during the period humans switched from hunter-gatherers to farmers.

The houses were all rectangular in shape with the largest being 15 by seven metres.

Pottery fragments, flint tools, arrowheads, rubbing stones for corn grinding and charred food remains have all been found on the site which will help historians discover more about Neolithic people lived.

The discovery has come from excavations supported by building material suppliers Cemex who own the site which have been ongoing at the quarry since 2003 at a cost of £4million so far.

SPECIAL events will be held on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 for residents to learn more about the discoveries made at the site.

On Saturday, April 26 from 10.30am-3.30pm an exhibition will show off the findings and from 7-9pm on Friday, April 25, a lecture will be held.

Both events will take place at the Village Hall, in The Green, Wraysbury and are free to attend.

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