New Stoneage Inhabitants
Earthworks do of course provide the first historical trace of manís
existence in any given area, at least in Western Europe, where the
major cultural change from wandering herdsmen to settled farmer both established
the need, and provided the opportunity (in the form of community surplus),
for their existence.
The first record of habitation in the environs of Wraysbury was in BC
2500 when Neolithic man lived in a five acre causewayed camp which was
defended by means of two circular rings of ditches. the site at O.S. 025
725 was first recognised from an aerial photograph in the South Bucks Planning
Office by the "characteristic discontinuous ditches enclosing a regular
circular area as at the type site at Windmill Hill on the Chalk Downs of
North Wiltshire. The site of this earthwork differs from examples previously
known as it is on a spit of gravel beside a stream in the Thames flood
plain and is far to the east of other known causewayed camps" .
The site was excavated in 1961 by the Ministry of Works. Within
the area was found evidence of the work of able carpenters, potters, etc.
The settled, as distinct from the nomadic, state being further illustrated
by seeds found in the pottery sherds, remnants of sickles and bones of
animals, pointing to a way of life dependant on the cultivation of crops
and the domestication of livestock. Food must obviously have been plentiful
because the inhabitants had not bothered to extract the marrow from the
An interim report on the excavation of the causewayed camp at
Yeoveney reveals that there were in fact three occupations of the site:-
1. Primary Neolithic, as described above.
2. Secondary Neolithic - Peterborough Pottery being found in one
section of the outer ditch, stratified above the Primary Neolithic pottery.
3. Romano-British occupation - evidence found over the whole site
The site was on a low knoll beside the small silted up river known as
the County Boundary Ditch which flows into the nearby river Thames. The
camp was slightly eroded on the south side by subsequent meandering of
the County Boundary Ditch. This site, together with that at Abingdon
in Oxfordshire, are the only two known causewayed camps having a low riverine
situation. The outer ditch was 5.5 foot deep and 13 foot broad whilst
the inner ditch was 4.5 foot deep and 8.5 foot broad. Both were flat
bottomed. There were seven causeways (undug portions of ditch) in the inner
and five in the outer ditch.