Surrey Archaeological Collections

Surrey Archaeological Society, 2003 (updated 2016)

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Surrey Archaeological Society (2016) Surrey Archaeological Collections [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Prehistoric and environmental development on Horsleydown: excavations at 1-2 Three Oak Lane

Archaeological excavations including an environmental sampling programme at Three Oak Lane, Southwark, produced evidence of the prehistoric sedimentary and environmental development, and the cultural exploitation, of the island situated within the Thames known historically as Horsleydown Eyot. Formed during the Late Devensian, the island was subject to alluvial conditions until the mid-Holocene, when more terrestrial conditions persisted. The earliest evidence of human activity consisted of flintwork of a Late Mesolithic tradition, which may have continued into the period normally associated with the Neolithic. Episodes of vegetational clearance were recorded from the Late Neolithic, followed by evidence of occupation. Subsequently, wetter conditions recommenced although further activity, in the form of wattle structures and numerous artefacts, was recorded. Continued wet conditions initiated peat formation during the Late Bronze Age. Artefacts recovered from within the peat show that even during this period activity, probably in the form of seasonal pasturage, persisted. By the end of the Bronze Age the site had been completely inundated by the Thames, resulting in the deposition of thick alluvial silt-clay deposits. There was no further evidence of human activity until the post-medieval period, when drainage ditches were constructed followed by ground-raising activity. Notable finds recovered from the prehistoric phases include the earliest ard component recovered from Britain, fragments of Grooved Ware pottery, a set of worked bone implements, a rubber stone and a loomweight.

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