Locals set out to Protect part of Prehistoric Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire, a county in the heart of England, may be more famous for Robin Hood and the origins of the modern game of football, but the discovery of what may prove to be a seasonal hunting camp of our Palaeolithic forefathers has got local amateur archaeologists waving their trowels in excitement.

The site, known as an “open field” location has yielded a large number of flint tools, all dating from approximately 13,000 years ago (Upper Palaeolithic).  The discoveries have centred around the Nottinghamshire village of Farndon and so far a number of flint tools have been found, but many more and other tantalising evidence may lie beneath plough depth, just waiting to be found.  The site is claimed to be unique in the British Isles, certainly, such large numbers of stone tools, some of which are complete, are usually associated with cave locations.

Amateur Archaeologists

Local amateur archaeologists and residents are seeking funds so that the site can be fully explored and researched.  The prehistoric site was first discovered during preliminary analysis of a road widening project (A46 Newark to Widmerpool).  In order to permit the site to be fully explored funding is required and locals have formed the Farndon Archaeological Research Investigations (FARI) to raise awareness and to act as a focus for their fund raising activities.

Pictures show some of the flint tools found at the location.  They have worked cutting edges and would have been used for various jobs including cutting up carcases and scraping hides.

Daryl Garton, a professional archaeologist supporting FARI stated:

“There is not another site in Britain of the same age and with the spread of activity.  It is incredibly important.”

Probably a Seasonal Camp

Initial work indicates that this site was probably a seasonal camp or a collection of camps, where hunters would have butchered animals that had been killed, perhaps herds of wild horses and deer as they crossed the treacherous River Trent nearby.

Farndon Archaeological Research Investigations (FARI) are bidding for £50,000 of Heritage Lottery Funding to be used over three years.

With this they hope to do more field walks, dig several test pits and carry out scientific tests they would otherwise not be able to afford.

Anne Coyne, from FARI, said the funding would be good, not only for archaeologists but also for the area.

She added:

“Its like ancient family history, studying how our ancestors lived in the past.  It would be great to put Newark on the map in terms of prehistory.”

Communicating with the Public

As important as work in the field, FARI plans to communicate the importance of the site to the public, through talks and displays.  With all the interest in tracing family trees, and with so much media dedicated to exploring ancient Britain, it seems that they will have an eager audience.

Anne commented:

“Eventually what we would like to do is to put on a permanent display of the finds at the local museum at Newark [Nottinghamshire] for people to view for future generations.”

FARI are expecting to finalise their application by the end of March and hope to hear from the Heritage Lottery Fund a few months later.  With luck (and with funding), they hope to start work excavating the first pits in the summer.

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