10 April 2018
Created by Barry Thompson © 2011-2018 Aston on Trent on Trent Local History Group, all rights reserved
Pre-historic Aston on Trent - Part 2 The Aston on Trent Beaker Burial The recent discovery of a Bronze Age log boat at Shardlow, complete with stone cargo was a fascinating glimpse into the prehistoric past, but there have been other excavations and finds nearer to Aston on Trent itself including the excavation of a barrow (prehistoric burial site, marked SITE on the map on the previous page) in the field next to Aston on Trent Lock in the 1960s. The site had been used since the Neolithic or New Stone Age when people lived or camped there, possibly for only one season. A decorated beaker, a flint arrowhead and an archer's wrist guard were found plus a number of bowls, including a 14 inches diameter carinated bowl (having a ridge or shaped like a ridge or the keel of a ship.) Some worked flints and waste flint flakes were also recovered. Radiocarbon dating of the corn fragments suggested a date of 2890+/-150 BC. The beakers, wrist guard and arrowhead can be seen in Derby museum. From similar material found at Stenson, Swarkestone and Aston, it is likely that there were quite a number of people living in the area during the late Neolithic and early Bronze ages. There are barrows at Twyford, Willington, Swarkestone and nearby at Weston, and another cursus of a similar size to the Aston on Trent cursus has been discovered at Potlock farm between Willington and Findern. Iron Age Enclosure A number of enclosures (areas of land surrounded by ditches) were found by aerial surveys towards the northern end of the cursus. One, adjacent to Acre Lane, was excavated in the 1960's, revealing pottery from the Iron Age and a small amount of Romano-British and medieval pottery indicating that people may have been living in or around the site over a considerable period. The enclosure was roughly 36 feet square and 27 feet across internally. Conclusions Although not obvious today, Aston on Trent and its surrounding area has been home for people for at least 5000 years. The River Trent has made a significant contribution to its attractiveness due to the richness of the soil, and in the transportation of people and goods. From the monuments that they left, such as the barrows and cursus, we can get a glimpse, albeit a frustratingly small one, into our distant ancestors lives. They thought Aston on Trent was a special place!