10,000 years in the life of the river Wandle: excavations at the former Vinamul site, Butter Hill, Wallington
Leary, J., Branch, N. P. and Bishop, B. (2005) 10,000 years in the life of the river Wandle: excavations at the former Vinamul site, Butter Hill, Wallington. Surrey Archaeological Collections, 92. pp. 1-28.
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Archaeological excavations alongside the river Wandle in Wallington produced evidence of the environmental history and human exploitation of the area. The recovery of a large assemblage of struck flint provided information on the nature of the prehistoric activities represented, while a detailed environmental archaeological programme permitted an examination of both the local sediment successions and thus an opportunity to reconstruct the environmental history of the site. The site revealed a complex sedimentary sequence deposited in riverine conditions, commencing during the early Holocene (from c 10,000 years before present) and continuing through the late Holocene (c last 3000 years). Large flint nodules were washed by the river onto the site where they were procured and worked by Mesolithic and Bronze Age communities. Potentially usable nodules had been tested, and suitable pieces completely reduced, while the majority of useful flakes and blades had been removed for use elsewhere. Small numbers of retouched pieces, such as scrapers and piercers, indicate that domestic activities took place nearby. By the Saxon period the site had begun to stabilise, although it remained marshy and probably peripheral to habitation. Two pits from this period were excavated, one of which contained an antler pick. A small quantity of cereal grain also suggests that cultivated land lay in the vicinity of the site. During the 19th century a mill race was dug across the site, redirecting water from the river Wandle, which resulted in episodic flooding.
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