Heatwave reveals England’s lost prehistoric sites

An Iron Age settlement was discovered at St Ives, Cornwall
Features in a ceremonial landscape near Oxford date from 4000BC to 7000 BC

According to a report on the BBC website the heatwave this summer has continued to reveal details of England’s ancient past to archaeologists. Surveys from the air have revealed Neolithic ceremonial monuments, Iron Age settlements, square burial mounds and a Roman farm for the first time.

Historic England said the weather “provided the perfect conditions” to see the crop marks because of the lack of moisture in the soil.

An Iron Age settlement was discovered at St Ives, Cornwall

Finds include:

  • An Iron Age round settlement at St Ives, Cornwall
  • A prehistoric settlement with concentric ditches at Lansallos, also in Cornwall
  • Iron Age square burial mounds or barrows in Pocklington, Yorkshire
  • A Bronze Age burial mound, a ditch, and a series of pits that could mark a land boundary in Scropton, Derbyshire
  • A settlement or cemetery at Stoke-by-Clare, Suffolk
  • A Roman farm in a field of grass at Bicton, Devon
  • Prehistoric farms in Stogumber, Somerset
  • An ancient enclosure in Churchstanton, also in Somerset

In each case the remains are revealed as differences in colour or in the height of crops or grass.

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “The discovery of ancient farms, settlements and Neolithic cursus monuments is exciting. The exceptional weather has opened up whole areas at once rather than just one or two fields and it has been fascinating to see so many traces of our past graphically revealed.”

Historic England uses aerial photography of crop marks to produce archaeological maps to help determine the significance of buried remains. This can help when making decisions about protecting them from future development or damage caused by ploughing.

Report and photos subject to BBC copyright


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