A 5,500 year old prehistoric ceremonial gathering place has been uncovered on a quarrying site just outside Windsor.

The discovery was made at Riding Court Farm, Datchet by a team working for the heritage charity Wessex Archaeology.

The team has uncovered a causewayed enclosure which could have been a place of ceremonial feasting, exchanges of goods, festivals and social gathering in ancient times.

John Powell, fieldwork director for Wessex Archaeology, said: “The discovery of and chance to excavate an early Neolithic causewayed enclosure is incredibly rare.

“Although we have only uncovered part of the site so far, the monument appears to be an oval shape with a projected perimeter of 500 metres. Currently 265 metres of the enclosure’s arc - some 12 ditch segments - have been traced with the remainder due to be uncovered in 2018.

"Towards the base of the ditches, small concentrations of animal bone, pottery and worked flint have been found and probably relate to the activities that took place within the enclosure. The finds include finely worked flint arrowheads, knives and serrated blades, decorated pottery sherds and in one segment part of a human skull. A sparse scatter of internal features included a pit that contained a finely ground flint axe.”

The charity is working closely with CEMEX UK on the quarrying site, discovering and removing archaeological treasures to safety in advance of the company's progress in extricating sand and gravel. The project is in its second year and is expected to last six.

The area already has a rich reputation for discoveries. Archaeologists working in nearby Eton Wick and Dorney have already found remains of several periods of prehistoric, Roman and later date activity - traces that indicate people periodically lived, farmed, settled and gathered in the area from the end of the last Ice Age, a period of 12,000 years.