A prehistoric landscape in Eastside
Excavations as part of new development near Curzon Street Station in the city centre revealed the remarkable survival of a ground surface dating to over 10,000 years ago, under 19th century structures. Pollen showed what the surrounding vegetation was like then.
Peaty clays had accumulated in two natural hollows and overlay features in the natural gravel which were irregular in form and probably tree holes or animal burrows. The lowest layer was radiocarbon-dated to around 8500 BC. It contained two prehistoric worked flints, of Late Upper Palaeolithic or Mesolithic date, one of which had been shaped to use as a knife or gouge. Pollen indicated woodland consisting mainly of pine and birch, with sedges and moss. A consistent layer of pine charcoal above this layer was dated to around 8400 BC and suggests that people were deliberately burning woodland to create clearings and increase food resources. Pollen from upper levels contained alder, hazel, birch and lime. All these layers were cut by a possible boundary ditch and pits, pottery from which suggests an 18th century date.