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Whipsnade Before the Middle Ages

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 gives tantalising glimpses of prehistoric and Roman activity in Whipsnade. This is quite disappointing given the considerable prehistoric and Romano-British evidence from nearby parishes.

Some hut circles have been identified in a field at Hill Grove [HER 10629]. Unexcavated, these could be any date from the Mesolithic to the late Iron Age. There are vague references to Belgic occupation in the Iron Age [HER 1464]. The Belgae were Celts who gave their name to modern Belgium and are thought to have migrated into Britain in the Iron Age. None of the material discussing this possible Belgic site has been published.

Finally, a Roman coin was discovered on Whipsnade Green in 2005 by a metal detectorist [HER 18823]. It is a silver denarius of Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD) minted at Rome and showing Queen Juno, a references to the emperor’s wife Faustina the Younger.