Prehistoric find uncovers early Birmingham

On the 23rd January I blogged on Birmingham City University city-centre campus coming soon and the archaelogical dig that took place in October 2008 on the site.

The Birmingham Mail has revealed exciting discoveries made by the archaelogists on the site with prehistoric blades being found, Archaeologists discover prehistoric blades at Birmingham City University.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Birmingham have discovered two stone flint blades which date back more than 9,000 years.
A dig at Birmingham City University unearthed the amazing find, which is thought to have been dropped by a prehistoric man

The exciting find, revealed as rare by archeologists, fills in more details of the early prehistoric history of Birmingham, revealing evidence of woodland clearance in the area which would have been boggy land during prehistoric times.

There has been little recorded evidence of the prehistory of Birmingham and many books choosing to start the recording of the history of Birmingham with it's first mention in 1086, although some reference the Roman fort at Metchley, with today's city straddling the boundaries of two Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the Mercians and the Hwicce, two Anglo-Saxon dioceses, Lichfield and Worcester, and three Shires, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. There was of course Roman Settlement and some evidence of Anglo-Saxon settlement. Steven Bassett, of the University of Birmingham wrote in the 2000 edition of the Midland History Journal that "we shall need to use some unconventional and sometimes difficult sorts of evidence" when finding evidence of the Anglo-Saxon history of Birmingham.

Image reproduced from Anglo Saxon Birmingham by Steve Bassett,

For instance, parish boundaries were not mapped reliably and systematically in England until the early nineteenth century, but it can be shown that many ecclesiastical parishes of that time mirrored the extent of an Anglo-Saxon manor, or group of manors, which the parish church in question initially served.

There are some prehistoric remains in Birmingham which this find adds to in filling in the history of Birmingham. The City Council's Archaeology pages reveal that 'over 30 "burnt mounds" have been found in Birmingham. These are low mounds, usually 10 to 15m across, composed of heat-shattered stone, charcoal and ash,

The wider significance of burnt mounds as potential indicators of settlement sites underlines the need for further systematic stream bank searches to locate them, and in addition heat-shattered stones, which could indicate burnt mounds or other archaeological features, should be routinely recorded in fieldwalking. Geophysical survey and trenching in the vicinity of other burnt mounds could locate contemporary settlements and other features, and their palaeoenvironmental potential could be tested by small scale interventions.


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