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Opening the Wood, Making the Land The Archaeology of a Middle Thames Landscape: the Eton College Rowing Course Project and the Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton Flood Alleviation Scheme Volume 1: Mesolithic to early Bronze Age Oxford Archaeology Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph 38 2013

Allen, Tim and Barclay, Alistair and Cromarty, Anne Marie and Anderson-Whymark, Hugo and Parker, Adrian and Robinson, Mark and Jones, Gillian and Aillaud, S and Ambers, Janet and Anderson, Elizabeth and Berstan, R and Boyle, Angela and Bradley, Philippa and Brown, Kayt and Challinor, Dana and Copley, Mark and Davis, Mary and Doherty, Chris and Durden, Theresa and Evershed, Richard and Hacking, Peter and Hall, S and Hiller, Jon and Jones, John M and Machling, Tessa and Marshall, P D and Mitchel, Nick and Payne, S and Pelling, Ruth and Petts, David and Ramsey, C Bronk and Roe, Fiona and Sheridan, Alison and Straker, Vanessa and Welsh, Ken and Collins, Julia and Kennedy, Hannah and Howarth, Luke and Costello, Mel and Stewardson, Anne and Wallis, Jeff and Patton, Amanda and Pressey, Simon and Lucas, Sarah (2013) Opening the Wood, Making the Land The Archaeology of a Middle Thames Landscape: the Eton College Rowing Course Project and the Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton Flood Alleviation Scheme Volume 1: Mesolithic to early Bronze Age Oxford Archaeology Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph 38 2013. Project Report. Oxford Archaeology.

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Excavations at the Eton Rowing Course and along
the Maidenhead to Windsor Flood Alleviation
Channel revealed extensive evidence for occupation
in all of the conventional periods of prehistory from
the Mesolithic to the early Bronze Age. (Later
discoveries are discussed in Volumes 2 and 3.)
The two projects revealed a complex sequence of
palaeochannels of the Thames which ran between a
number of gravel islands. Features and artefact
scatters revealed were distributed across these
gravel islands and the floodplain adjacent to the
channels, in some cases being preserved in
sequences of alluvium. Extensive early Neolithic
midden deposits had been preserved in hollows
which had formed by the partial infilling of earlier
palaeochannels. A number of finds, including
human remains, were recovered from deposits
within the channels themselves.
The earliest significant evidence for occupation
was provided by an extensive concentration of early
Mesolithic flint, situated along the edge of a former
channel of the Thames which ran through the area
of the Rowing Course. A number of smaller scatters
of similar date were found in similar contexts
elsewhere on the Rowing Course. Late Mesolithic
worked flint was recovered from tree-throw holes
and as scatters on the floodplain and on one of the
Gravel Islands.
Perhaps the most significant discoveries were
three early Neolithic midden deposits, preserved in
hollows formed by the infilling of earlier palaeo -
channels, at Sites 6 and 10 on the Eton Rowing
Course and at Lake End Road West on the Flood
Alleviation Channel. Similar deposits found at
Amerden Lane had clearly suffered from much
more significant disturbance than those at the other
sites. The midden deposits on Sites 6 and 10, in
particular, contained large quantities of pottery
(largely Carinated, Plain and Decorated Bowl, but
including also later styles), worked flint, animal
bone and other finds. Similar ranges of finds were
also recovered on these sites from tree-throw holes
and pits. Modelling of radiocarbon dates suggests
that the midden deposits in Area 6 had built up over
a considerable period of time.
Further evidence for activity in the early
Neolithic was provided by flint scatters on a gravel
island on the Rowing Course, finds from pits and
tree-throw holes at other sites, including one at
Marsh Lane West which contained a small quantity
of cremated human remains, and a human skull
recovered from a palaeochannel. It is possible that
an oval barrow at Marsh Lane East Site 2 was originally
constructed in the early Neolithic, although it
was recut in the late Neolithic/early Bronze Age.
In contrast to the early Neolithic, middle
Neolithic activity was evidenced most extensively
by finds from pits which usually occurred in pairs
or small groups. More exceptional evidence for
activity in the middle Neolithic was provided by
two inhumation burials and two cattle burials from
Areas 6 and 10, as well as a human skull from a
former channel of the Thames.
Evidence for activity in the late Neolithic was
more limited, but at the Rowing Course a small
number of isolated pits and tree-throw holes dating
from this period were identified. More exceptional
finds, including part of a human skeleton were
again recovered from the former channel of the
Evidence for activity in the Beaker period and the
early Bronze Age included ring ditches in Areas 6
and 16 on the Rowing Course and at Marsh Lane
East Site 2. One of the ring ditches at the latter site
was associated with a central cremation burial in a
Collared Urn, in a pit which also contained deposits
of pyre material and possibly the remains of a bier.
Alongside these monuments, evidence of settlement
was also found, consisting of scatters of
worked flint, spreads of burnt flint, a hearth, and
pits and tree-throw holes on the floodplain and
gravel islands.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Berkshire
Geographical Areas > English Counties > Buckinghamshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Mesolithic 10,000 - 4,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2023 13:24
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 13:24
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/7277

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