City history group uncover farm tools from Stone Age

Project leader Dr Olaf Bayer digs down

Project leader Dr Olaf Bayer digs down Buy this photo

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by

TOOLS used by Oxford’s first farmers have been uncovered by a team of archaeologists.

It is thought the scrapers and knives could date back 4,000 years, after they were unearthed by two professionals and about 50 community volunteers from Archeox, the East Oxford Archaeology and History Project.

Dr Olaf Bayer, from the project, said: “It’s really exciting.

“We’ve done a couple of surveys on the site over the last couple of years and started excavating green space in Donnington, East Oxford, between Meadow Lane and Cavell Road.

“Over the last 10 days we found Roman material and underneath it a couple of tools which we think date back to 4,000 BC, the Neolithic period, and we think this relates to the first farmers who settled in Oxfordshire.

“We had no idea just how extensive that occupation was and it’s an interesting addition to what we knew.”

Dr Bayer, a stone tools expert who lives near Florence Park, added: “It’s exciting to find something a quarter of a mile away from where you live.”

The East Oxford community archaeology project is run by Dr Bayer and St Clements resident Jane Harrison.

Ms Harrison said: “It’s really exciting and I’m very pleased by what we have found.

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“This is the third excavation that we have done after doing one at Minchery Priory, near the Kassam Stadium and at Bartlemas Chapel in Cowley.

“This time we are dealing with a more prehistoric excavation.”

She added: “We have been working very hard in the sand on pits so it has been difficult but the team have managed incredibly well and are a fun group to work with.”

In October last year Ms Harrison and other members of lottery-funded Archeox were working at Minchery Farm paddock near the Kassam Stadium when they dug up a 4,000-year-old artefact as they tried to found out more information about the 12th century priory.

The barbed arrowhead made of flint was thought to date back to the early Bronze Age.

Volunteer Greg Owen, an architect from Greater Leys, who is also working at the Donnington dig, said: “I’m used to being on a building site and I normally see things being built up rather than digging to find stuff.

“But I uncovered a tool which dated back to the Stone Age and that was a fantastic feeling. It’s a lovely thing to do and everyone works together and we have got people of all different ages and backgrounds.”

The archaeology project is funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and Oxford University.

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