Bronze Age farm discovered at OS head office

I met up with Wessex Archaeology recently to find out about the previous residents at Adanac Park, the site of our new head office.

Back in 2008, as part of the planning process, Wessex Archaeology were asked to investigate the site for historical interest. They were fairly confident of finding some archaeological remains as there had been finds at sites in the local area, but were surprised to find evidence of a late Bronze Age farm, the first of its kind in this part of Hampshire.

Archaeologist Andrew Fitzpatrick told me, ‘The site proved to be late Bronze Age, around 3,000 years old, four or five houses and evidence of smaller structures, such as storage sheds and granaries. There was also an Iron Age burial ground with seven barrows and other graves. This was quite unexpected and the site is unique in Britain.’

The team discovered pottery fragments, remains of ancient crops, a quern or grinding stone, loom weights and a whetstone, giving a clear idea that Adanac Park’s former residents were working in a farm environment.

Iron Age sword discovered

One of the more exciting finds was a sword in one of the Iron Age barrows. It was found along with a spear and the remains of a shield, but due to the acidic nature of the local soil, the skeleton had not survived. Pippa Bradley, who is working on a final report about the finds, explained, ‘It took some CSI-style investigation and an x-ray of the sword remains to determine whether it was from the Iron Age or Anglo-Saxon period. And it was only through the dedication of the field team, returning a questionable lump of mud and stone, that we discovered parts of a metal ornament from the boss that would have sat in the centre of the shield.’

It’s odd to think that when we take over the building later this year we’ll be sitting in our offices, going about our daily business of keeping the mapping of Great Britain current, whereas 3,000 years ago people were growing crops, farming animals and living off the land.’

If you’d like to find out a little more about Wessex Archaeology, check out their website. I’ll be catching up with them again soon to find out about their use of GI and mapping when doing their daily work.

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