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Kempston in the Old and Middle Stone Ages

Finds have made it clear that there has been human activity in Kempston for a very long time. This should not be surprising given the presence of a major and navigable river as it is thought that in earliest times rivers were the major arteries of travel and communication.

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. The HER records five distinct sites where Palaeolithic, as well as later activity, took place and one site dating from the Mesolithic Period.

Gravel digging in the 19th and 20th centuries revealed numerous Palaeolithic finds on the north side of Bedford Road as well as finds from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Romano-British and Anglo-Saxon periods [HER 256]. An stone axe, a necklace and a pendant all date to the Old Stone Age.

The recent housing development located between Kempston Mill and Kempston Manor has revealed finds from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Romano-British and Medieval periods [HER 14853]. The Paleaolithic find was a single hand axe. An area south-east of the Biddenham loop, ear the river, produced a stone tool from the Palaeolithic, but it is not clear whether this was found in Biddenham or Kempston parish [HER 253].

The Springfield gravel pit, the location of which is now unclear but which was, presumably, somewhere in the vicinity of Spring Road, produced four Old Stone Age axes, one unfinished, as well as a flint flake [HER 757]. In the Bunyan Road area, at an unspecified date a dozen Palaeolithic hand axes were found [HER 1184]. Two flint blades dating from the Mesolithic were found at 12 Margetts Road in the 20th century [HER 16042].