Stone Age flintwork dating back to 8,000 BC and signs of a Roman settlement have been discovered by Thames Water at a sewage treatment works near Kintbury in Berkshire.
Thames Water have also discovered pieces of a Bronze Age urn, burnt bone and charcoal, suggesting the land was subsequently used for burial rituals.Shards of late Iron Age pottery were also discovered, clustered in pits and ditches. The remains of three bread ovens, complete with hearth, flue and furnace prove that the Romans also settled the area and evidence of two large gateposts indicates that visitors to the Roman community would have had to pass through an imposing entrance.Dr Roy Entwhistle, an archaeologist working for Thames Water, said: 'Given how quiet this corner of the Kennet Valley is today, it's remarkable to think that so many different people have called it home over the past 10,000 years.'We knew that there had been Roman settlement in the area as a bathing house dating from that period was discovered by a schoolteacher on a nearby field in the 1950s. We were particularly pleased to discover the Mesolithic flintwork that would have been used by hunter-gatherers to fashion tools. Finding these prehistoric collections undisturbed is rare in southern England.'Thames Water unearthed the artefacts prior to a major project to improve the sewage treatment works. Over the next four months, a plant to further improve the quality of the treated wastewater and two storage tanks will be installed at the site.