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GRIMES GRAVES

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Grime's Graves is a flint mining complex dating to the Neolithic period with the earliest evidence of activity from around 3000 BC. It comprises 433 mineshafts, pits, quarries and spoil dumps which survive as earthworks covering an area of 7.6 hectares. It is one of just ten Neolithic flint mines known to have existed in England, of which six still exist as earthworks. The reason why flint was ever mined here, however, remains uncertain as sufficient amounts exist on the surface. It may be possible that mined flint was highly prized for its aesethic appearance and that mining for it 'was invested with important ceremonial purpose.'

While there was very little Early Bronze Age activity on the site, there is vast evidence of occupation during the Middle Bronze Age period from circa 1500-1150 BC. While the remains of any houses are yet to be found, archaeologists have discovered large rubbish deposits dating to this period. They contained many types of animal bones, evidence of crop cultivation as well as indications of textile production, pottery manufacture and leather and wood working.

Pottery sherds and two inhumation burials provide evidence of Iron Age occupation (800BC-AD43) while further pottery sherds have been found to date to the Roman period (AD 43-410).

The site is thought to have been used as a rabbit warren by Broomehill Priory from 1224, however by the 16th century it was used for grazing sheep. Coniferous woodland was planted here in around 1820 and it was well established at the time of the first archaeological excavations in 1852. The site passed into public ownership in 1931 and is currently opened to the public by English Heritage (2010).

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.