Remains from the end of the last Ice Age have been unearthed in Surrey 14,000 years later – just one inch below where archaeologists started combing for clues.
The very rare ancient artefacts – more than 2,400 flints shaped into tools and blades – were dug up during Surrey County Council’s initial work to build a brand new Guildford fire station, and the finds are now being tested.
Nick Truckle, of Surrey County Council’s heritage conservation team that recommended the dig, says the flints are in excellent condition and were found exactly where hunter-gatherers left them around 12,000 BC despite intervening centuries of river flooding and development. Fire engines also regularly drove on the land until recently. The dig started after feedback from retired Guildford fireman Ron Shettle, who had done some research of his own at the site.
Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “To have made this important discovery in Surrey is very exciting. This is a particularly rare find because there are very few intact British sites as old or complex as this one.
“We now have experts doing detailed studies on these flints, which we hope will give us more answers about the lives of the people that used them and how they lived.”
The flints will then go for further academic research at Oxford University, and some may be displayed at the county council’s Surrey History Centre in Woking when this work has finished. Visit the Surrey News Flickr page to view a collection of photographs taken during this exciting discovery.