3500BC First Settlements
at Briar Hill
People have been passing through the area we call Northamptonshire for hundreds of thousands of years.

We have found artefacts over 500 000 years old from the period called the Palaeolithic. Then around 6000 years ago in the Neolithic period, we have evidence of the first settlers in the area: people began to live here.

The picture shows a reconstruction of the ditches of a causewayed enclosure at Briar Hill in Northampton. Archaeologists excavated the hillside in the 1970's before houses were built over it, and they dated the site to 3500BC - around 5500 years ago.

Sites like these formed meeting places for people who had no permanent villages; they moved around to find seasonal grazing for their animals. Archaeological evidence shows the ditches were dug out many times to remark the site, which was probably in use for 1500 years, until approximately 2000BC.

Glossary:

Palaeolithic

'Old Stone Age', from the Greek words lithos meaning stone and palaios meaning old or ancient. The Stone Age is the period when stone tools and weapons were used. It started about 450 000 years ago and ended around 10 000 years ago.

Neolithic

'New Stone Age', from the Greek words lithos meaning stone and neos meaning new. The Stone Age is the period when stone tools and weapons were used. In Britain, the Neolithic lasted from around 4500 BC to 2300 BC.

Archaeologist

Someone who makes discoveries about the past by excavating and examining material evidence.

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