Project info

The River Wye


prehistory: the mesolithic 


The 5,000 years following the last ice age is the mesolithic the middle stone age. The mesolithic is the period following the retreat of the ice about 10,000 years age. In general, recognised mesolithic occupation sites are rare. Some mesolithic flints have been found in the area - at Kings Caple and Fownhope, but the lack of finds from this period is likely to reflect the relative lack of archaeological activity in the area. The latest retreat of the ice at the beginning of the present interglacial was quite rapid. The outwash from the melting of this glacier formed the gravel beds on which the centre of Hereford is built. The retreat of the ice left behind a treeless tundra landscape into which grazing animals and their predators, including humans, migrated.

By about 7,500BC temperatures had risen to an average of several degrees higher than today. The River Wye had established something approaching its modern course and trees began to appear in the central Herefordshire plain. There has been a tendency to over-estimate the density of woodland in this period; it seems likely that the thick forests of popular imagination never existed and that there was always much open grassland.

Mesolithic evidence is extremely rare in the area with tools found at only three sites before the beginning of the project.

This microlith was found at Gillow Farm in Hentland parish in March 2006 and is 20mm long.

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Wye Valley Archaeology pages

maintained by Archenfield Archaeology Ltd


This project was part-financed by the European Union (EAGGF) and DEFRA through the Herefordshire Rivers LEADER+ Programme.