Neolithic settlement found between Basildon and Wickford

Echo: Old town – an artist’s impression of one of the houses Old town – an artist’s impression of one of the houses

THE remains of eight Neolithic houses, between 4,000 and 6,000 years old, have been found between Basildon and Wickford.

Archaeologists have heralded the Stone Age findings – uncovered by a dig in near the Old Nevendon Road – as “extraordinarily rare”. Only 31 other such houses have ever been found in the UK.

Workers at the dig also found the remains of timber posts set in circles and a rare cursus monument, said to show the area was once used for pre-Christian religious rites.

A cursus monument is two parallel banks of earth about 160 feet apart, at right angles to a river.

The exciting discoveries are the latest finds to arise from the four-month excavation of the site, which is due to be turned into flood plains and wildlife habitat as part of Essex County Council’s plan to build a waste plant in Courtauld Road. The council hopes Trak, the company creating the new flood plain, will be able to start work on the site next month.

Maria Medlycott, the council’s historic environment officer, said: “The findings are extraordinarily rare and if they are indeed Neolithic houses, the find is of national importance.”

It’s an exceptional site and it’s so good for Basildon. It just shows we do have an ancient history and Basildon wasn’t just plonked here in the Fifties.”

Vin Harrop, Basildon Heritage director

She said the council planned to display smaller finds, such as flint tools, an axe and pottery, some dating back 9,000 years, at Southend Museum.

But some of the finds, including a reconstruction of one of the houses, or a timber circle, could be housed in an education centre to be built alongside the Courthauld Road waste site.

Archaeologists discovered the houses when they excavated post holes in the ground, between six and nine feet apart.

Gwilym Williams, senior archaeologist for the firm in charge of the excavation, said the post holes allowed the team to work out what the houses looked like and how Neolithic man lived in them.

He explained: “We can work out where the door was likely to have been, where the people slept, and where their kitchen and eating area was.

“We think the buildings may well indicate an extended family lived there or a large farm, comprising several dwellings.”

Vin Harrop, Basildon Heritage director said: “It’s beyond our wildest expectations, I never imagined there would be eight houses there.

“It’s an exceptional site and it’s so good for Basildon. It just shows we do have an ancient history and Basildon wasn’t just plonked here in the Fifties.”

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:06pm Tue 10 Mar 09

evilc says...

Actually it is still there in Curzon walk, some of the benefit scroungers living there live like Neolithic man
Actually it is still there in Curzon walk, some of the benefit scroungers living there live like Neolithic man evilc
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Tue 10 Mar 09

upset says...

Surely the photo's wrong, should be of a chrome covered caravan which tax payers have bought via the non travelers fiddles
Surely the photo's wrong, should be of a chrome covered caravan which tax payers have bought via the non travelers fiddles upset
  • Score: 2

9:20pm Tue 10 Mar 09

APR says...

A very interesting site, a few of us were invited there just before Christmas. Lots of artefacts excavated, from all periods.
A very interesting site, a few of us were invited there just before Christmas. Lots of artefacts excavated, from all periods. APR
  • Score: 0

10:57pm Tue 10 Mar 09

diamondgza49 says...

some thing tells me they didnt build
gable roofs like that 6 k years ago,
maybe low pitched ones,,,it wasnt that long ago we were in sod huts,,
,,,,jaysus!!!!
mind you it is a luvly picture though !!!!!!
some thing tells me they didnt build gable roofs like that 6 k years ago, maybe low pitched ones,,,it wasnt that long ago we were in sod huts,, ,,,,jaysus!!!! mind you it is a luvly picture though !!!!!! diamondgza49
  • Score: 0

11:01pm Tue 10 Mar 09

Nebs says...

If they were in Southend then the council would convert them into flats.
If they were in Southend then the council would convert them into flats. Nebs
  • Score: 0

11:22pm Tue 10 Mar 09

Trainman says...

I bet the owners owe some back Council Tax, but won't get taken to Court for it? :>)
I bet the owners owe some back Council Tax, but won't get taken to Court for it? :>) Trainman
  • Score: 1

8:32am Wed 11 Mar 09

ShipShape says...

It can't be Basildon, theres no kebab wrappers blowing past!
It can't be Basildon, theres no kebab wrappers blowing past! ShipShape
  • Score: 1

11:24am Wed 11 Mar 09

Winston Smith says...

I would say this is stone age WICKFORD not stone age Chavsville because Basildon is a new town and Wickford is the original old town.
I would say this is stone age WICKFORD not stone age Chavsville because Basildon is a new town and Wickford is the original old town. Winston Smith
  • Score: 0

1:13pm Wed 11 Mar 09

kathy says...

Winston Smith wrote:
I would say this is stone age WICKFORD not stone age Chavsville because Basildon is a new town and Wickford is the original old town.
Surprisingly, there was life in Basildon before 1949!
[quote][p][bold]Winston Smith[/bold] wrote: I would say this is stone age WICKFORD not stone age Chavsville because Basildon is a new town and Wickford is the original old town.[/p][/quote]Surprisingly, there was life in Basildon before 1949! kathy
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Wed 11 Mar 09

hothead says...

It is not neolithis - it is Dale Farm!
It is not neolithis - it is Dale Farm! hothead
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree