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Prehistoric Harrowden

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.

A number of prehistoric finds are recorded from Harrowden. A total of twenty one handaxes, two unretouched flakes and three worked fragments are recorded as found at Harrowden. No exact findspots or dates of discovery are known [HER 622]]. These objects date from the Old Stone Age and may have been found close to the River Great Ouse as rivers may have been the highways of this remote epoch. One handaxe is in the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, Cambridge. Others are in the British Museum and Bedford Museum.

A trial excavation at Manor Farm, just south of the Bedford Southern Bypass [HER 15853] produced evidence of a number of phases of activity occurring on the site from the Neolithic to the Roman period. The prehistoric features included pits of a possible Neolithic date, a late Bronze Age ring ditch and other features which where of an unknown date but were thought to be associated with the ring ditch. The size of the ring ditch suggests that it is a henge monument (a circular or semi-circular bank with a ditch lining the inside portion of the ditch) rather than associated with a barrow.

Iron Age features were associated with the ring ditch, which contained pottery of that era in its upper fills, and included linear ditches that were later replaced by post lines. To the east of the area the edge of a field system could be seen.

A spread of linear cropmarks alongside a north-east flowing brook can be seen north of Medbury Farm [HER 16642]. Some of the features are probably former water courses but it is possible they may contain prehistoric trackways and enclosures.