Travelling History on Exmoor

We had the pleasure in joining an archaeological dig this week at Farley Hill on Exmoor. As part of an ongoing project, the purpose was to find evidence of Mesolithic activity up on the Moors. The site was chosen as a result of geophysics and magnetometry that suggested the presence of charcoal below the surface.

We arrived midweek, perfect timing as the trenches were well underway and there was no danger of having to backfill! The sun was shining and we were set for a day of Mesolithic discovery. We found plenty of flecks of charcoal, although not enough to obtain a date from, but the trench seemed alarmingly devoid of flint. Nevertheless we plowed on and finally Hannah Swann (aged 8) was rewarded with a fine honey coloured piece of flint, probably a section of a small blade.

A concentrated area of charcoal in the centre of our trench possibly suggested a post hole.

In previous years a lot of flint had been excavated from trenches just a few feet away, much of which had been brought up to the moors from the nearby coast, so there has clearly been plenty of Mesolithic activity in the area. It was a pleasure to trowel in the Somerset and Devon sunshine and contemplate the shadowy existence of our hunter gatherer forebears in the wonderful landscape that is Exmoor.

Exmoor is one of our key landscapes for outings, some great places to stay, fantastic walking and plenty of prehistoric sites to visit either by foot, by bike or by car. We stopped on the way home in the lovely village of Dulverton, home to a great second hand bookshop and next door, the Bridge Inn on the bank of the River Barle. Where better for a paddle by the medieval bridge and enjoy a very splendid pint of Exmoor Ale.

Our thanks go to Paula Gardiner for inviting us to join her did, and all the archaeologists who were most welcoming and encouraging, particularly to Hannah who enjoyed a very educational and inspiring day. And that is what The Travelling History Company is all about!

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