The Romans
The Civil War
The Plague
Battle of Church Sq
World War Two
Basingstoke Canal
Basingstoke windmill
Alfred the Great

Walter de Merton
Sir James Lancaster
Mrs. Blunden
John May
Thomas Burberry
Lord Sandys
Adam de Gurdon
Thomas Warton
The Light Railway

Witch Trials
Jane Austen


Market days
Street names 

Basingstoke in prehistory

The area of Basingstoke has two distinct types of terrain. To the north is  clay soil and to the south chalk lands. Scattered around these two areas are patches of clay-with-flints 

     Cave paintingsOn the chalk downlands a ready supply of flint was found which could be used to fashion crude tools and weapons and during Palaeolithic times (100,000-12,000 BC) flint working sites were set up here. In fact it is still relatively easy to find worked flints to this day in the area around Basingstoke, especially in any freshly dug sites.

     In 1912 when Penrith road was constructed in Basingstoke there was found an ancient cooking site, with a blackened flint hearth. This was the first evidence of a man-made settlement in Basingstoke, and was in use at least 5000 years ago in the Mesolithic period (12,000-3,000 BC).

  Caveman and butterfly   The last of the Stone Age people were the Neolithic invaders from the continent (3,000-1,800 BC) who were the first to attempt settled farming in the area. Camps were built on the chalk uplands surrounded by a causeway, the light woodland was cleared and crops planted. In the Kempshott district of the town a burial mound was discovered where these ancient people buried their dead in chambered tombs.

     In the Bronze age (1,800-550 BC) the practice of burying your deadCaveman with club singularly under a circular earthen mound, known as a round barrow, was used and in Hampshire alone there are nearly 1000, several of which are in the Basingstoke area. During the Bronze Age trade routes started to develop linking the southern counties from east to west and north to south to the prehistoric ports. Two trade routes passed through the Basingstoke area, the first was the Harrow way which passed close by Stonehenge and still has a road named after it in the town today. The second track to pass into the area is the Ink Pen Ridgeway.

   Cave paintings   The introduction over time of iron into this country extended farming onto the downlands and the threat of invasion  produced great defensive earthworks, or hill forts. One such hillfort was the one at Winklebury during the Iron Age period (550-150 BC) which had settlements dotted around the hillfort. The people who established these settlements brought with them the Celtic language. The camp at Winklebury stands on the 400 ft contour line and had a commanding view of the Loddon valley. It was one of the earliest forts in the country with pieces of pottery dating from the third or forth century being found in the rampart ditch.

To find out more about life in prehistory times click on the video link below to view a short video. Choose the full view speed option if you wish to see the full length video.

PREHISTORIC SITES: Stonehenge to the Moorlands of Western Britain. Video from the Roland Collection.

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