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Birmingham City Council

Prehistoric Birmingham



Earlier Prehistoric Birmingham

The earlier prehistoric periods (up to about 1500BC: Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic and Early Bronze Age) are currently represented in Birmingham mainly by objects such as stone axes and flint arrowheads found by chance during ground disturbance in built-up areas or open spaces, and by flint tools and flintworking debris found in deliberate search of field surfaces in current agricultural land. Some of the concentrations of flintwork may indicate the location of settlements. A soil layer with flint tools,dating back over 10,000 years was found in the City Centre.

A mound on Kingstanding Road is probably a prehistoric barrow or burial mound. Pollen at Perry Barr shows us what the landscape looked like nearly 5000 years ago. Pottery of this date has been found in Bournville. A pit dating to about 1600BC was found in Northfield.

Later Prehistoric Periods in Birmingham

Structures and objects dating to the later prehistoric periods in Birmingham (about 1500 BC to AD 43: Later Bronze Age and Iron Age) include bronze axes, nearly 40 burnt mounds and Iron Age farms. Waterlogged deposits in and adjoining the mounds contain data on past environmental conditions and other features have been found adjacent to some mounds. Two Iron Age farmsteads, each consisting of circular timber houses in a square ditched enclosure, were found in Sutton Coldfield in excavations along the line of the M6 Toll motorway. The only other evidence for the Iron Age in the city currently consists of a few pieces of pottery and a glass bead.

FindingPrehistoric Sites in Birmingham

By comparison with surrounding areas, there are almost certainly more prehistoric sites in Birmingham. More burnt mounds are likely to be discovered, since they are distinctive and may therefore be observed and recorded even in relatively poor conditions, but the remains of Bronze Age settlements may be at some distance from the burnt mounds and are less visible archaeologically. There are likely to be far more Iron Age settlements in Birmingham like those found in Sutton Coldfield but they are difficult to locate.

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Last Updated : 15th October 2013