Amesbury is Britain’s Oldest SettlementBy Staff Reporter
Amesbury, a town in Wiltshire, England, is the oldest and longest continuous settlement in the United Kingdom, according to a University of Buckingham study.
Researchers said that the parish of Amesbury, which also includes Stonehenge, has been continuously inhabited for every millennia since 8820BC. The researchers discovered the new dates of origins of Amesbury following an archaeological dig last year at Vespasian's Camp, Blick Mead, near to Stonehenge.
They uncovered carbon dating bones of several large animals like aurochs, wild boar and red deer; smaller animal bones and numerous burnt flints. The remnants, dating back to some 10,000 years ago (around 8820 B.C.) are believed to have been the leftovers of a large feasts at the site.
Until now, Stonehenge was assumed to be the mastermind of European immigrants. But the new study indicates that British settlers were behind its construction. Stonehenge is believed to have been constructed over 1,500 years during the Neolithic era, between 2500 and 3000 B.C.
"The site blows the lid off the Neolithic Revolution in a number of ways. It provides evidence for people staying put, clearing land, building, and presumably worshiping, monuments. The area was clearly a hub point for people to come to from many miles away, and in many ways was a forerunner for what later went on at Stonehenge itself. The first monuments at Stonehenge were built by these people...," David Jacques, Research Fellow in Archaeology and who led the dig, said in a statement.
Prior to the finding, the town of Thatcham in Berkshire, located some 40 miles to the east, was deemed to be Britain's oldest settlement. Evidence from the area dated back to 7700 B.C. As a result of the discovery of the discarded bones at the Blick Mead archaeological site, Amesbury has now succeeded Thatcham to be the gateway of British history during the Neolithic era. Last week, the Guinness Book of World Records officially approved the town's new distinction, History reports.
In October 2013, an archaeological dig in Wiltshire found evidence of prehistoric Britons eating frog legs 8,000 years before it became a delicacy of France.
The excavation near Stonehenge found a small, partially burnt leg bone of a toad, dating between 7596BC and 6250BC in April. The finding of burnt humerus of a toad indicates that the Britons' prehistoric ancestors snacked on amphibians. It is considered to be the earliest evidence of a cooked toad or frog leg.
"We were completely taken aback. They would have definitely eaten the leg because it would have been quite big and juicy. Frogs' legs are full of protein and very quick to cook: the Mesolithic equivalent of fast food," senior research fellow in archaeology at the University of Buckingham and team leader David Jacques told the Guardian.