Stone Age
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Early S.A.
Neolithic
Catalogue

Ice-age glaciers a kilometre thick flow down from the North

Image courtesy of Geographic Museum, London

Chobham is a village with a remarkable and long history.  There is evidence of local human occupation stretching back to pre-historic times.

 

In the ice ages, glaciers flowed down from the north to the Thames.   Traces of human habitation date from only the warm periods between the ice ages.

 

Animals that would have been common around Chobham, i.e. the tundra south of the glaciers.

Image courtesy of Geographic Museum, London

About 8,000 years ago the climate became mild, the ice sheets melted and the British Isle was formed when the Atlantic broke through the land strip joining these us to continental Europe.

The Hunter-Gatherers

At that time Surrey would have been very deeply wooded. Deciduous forests of alder, ash, elm, hazel, lime and oak would have swarmed with deer, elk, boar and oxen.

Animals common during the warm periods that would have been hunted by early man in this locality.

Image courtesy of Geographic Museum, London

 The few early stone-age humans would have scavenged for berries, nuts, roots, eggs and any wild animals they could have killed.  They may well have been nomadic; following their prey.  They would have worn skins and lived in simple shelters made of grass and branches. 

Neolithic Farmers

From about 3000 years ago , the original ‘hunting and gathering’ inhabitants adopted a culture which knew how to fashion agricultural tools, who could plough, sow and grow crops, domesticate animals, make huts, weave cloth and make clay pots.

Industry and Agriculture

The light sandy soils of this part of Surrey were ideal for their wooden ploughs and hence it is likely that the areas which are now heathland were the earliest to be cleared. 

Habitation

The best evidence of Neolithic human habitation in this area has come from evidence of flint working and tool usage.  Large numbers of flint flakes have been found in the upper Windle Brook valley.

Our heathlands could easily have had homesteads comprising simple huts.  Earthwork entrenchments would be dug to protect the nightly or seasonal roundup of flocks and cattle. It is possible that earthwork enclosures, similar to that in Albury Bottom on Chobham Common, could have been constructed for this purpose.

 

 

A polished flint axe from Longcross

A flint axe was found in Longcross.  This axe has not simply been flaked, but has had the high points ground and polished; it would have been a high-status possession.

Culture

These people cleared the tops of the downs, especially in Wiltshire.  Downland chalk soils are more robust than sandy heaths and communities could have farmed over many generations.  This stability and  continuity could have been the reason why these people became culturally developed and constructed henges, long barrows and enormous roundhouses.

In our area, a long barrow burial mound was discovered at Badshot Lea near Aldershot.