Sunday, 3 February 2008

Mesolithic finds at Bath

They forgot to mention that rain falling at the time of the earliest level of archaeology (10,000 years bp) is only now surfacing in the hot springs...Full story from the Western Daily Press

Chock-full of famous Roman Baths, Celtic kings, Georgian crescents and Jane Austen, the history of Bath already ran to quite a weighty tome.

But archaeologists admitted yesterday that two new chapters would have to be written after amazing discoveries made while a new sewer was being dug.

At the very depths of the site of a new £350 million shopping centre in the heart of the ancient city, archaeologists found new evidence that extends the history of the city thousands of years further back.

The archaeologists found the first evidence of human activity near the banks of the River Avon dating back to 8,000BC, that's before any kind of recorded history and even before the idea of farming had reached the British Isles.

The first Bathonians were hunter- gatherers, following herds of deer and other game along the river valley, attracted by the hot springs and the plentiful fish in the River Avon.

And on the spot where people would later settle and use the hot springs, they made tools, fished and left scraps of archaeological evidence, according to Bath and North East Somerset archaeologist Richard Sermon.

"Previously, archaeological interest has been on the Roman and medieval times in Bath, but this has given us a glimpse right back into the very first people who would have come to what is now Bath," he said.

"The hunter-gatherers would have been attracted by the game here and the fishing, and possibly by the micro-environment caused by the hot springs. It takes the history of Bath right back to 8,000BC.

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