Peeking into Prehistory

Long before your home was built, the roads you walk on were present and even before maps and written language existed, people were roaming the land which is now Page Hall and Grimesthorpe. We know this through objects and remains which archaeologists have found across these areas.

Example of a Mesolithic flint blade (8000-4000 BC) The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

On Wincobank Hill and in Grimesthorpe remains of flint tools have been found, such as scrappers and blades used to prepare food and make animal skins into clothing. These finds date back about 8000 years ago, to what is called the Mesolithic Period. Flint is not a local stone at Wincobank, meaning that for it to be here many people carried it with them when traveling to make their homes in the hills and valleys of what would become Sheffield. Due to the large amount of flint finds here, it is thought that a settlement from this period must have once existed in the nearby area!

Example of a Mesolithic flint blade (8000-4000 BC) The Portable Antiquities Scheme/ The Trustees of the British Museum / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

How did they travel to here?

The two most likely ways were either walking here, or they may have used the rivers! Some of the names of Britain’s major rivers, including The Don (originally Dun) are names that originate from the prehistoric period.

Just imagine when you walk up to the top of Wincobank Hill or around Grimesthorpe, you could be walking the same path that someone else did 8000 years ago!

Around 4500 years ago the Bronze Age period began in Britain. It was called this as this is when people in Britain started using copper and bronze to make tools. We see evidence of these Bronze Age people at Wincobank Hill through archaeological objects, such as a flint knife, and potential remains of tumuli. Tumuli are mounds of earth and stone which mark out where a person might have been buried – look at the image below to see an example.

These tumuli were located on the Grimesthorpe side of Wincobank Hill. These burials were often built at a high position in the landscape so they would be very obvious and stand out from the surrounding landscape. It is thought that if the burials were located at Wincobank Hill, a settlement (a place where people lived) would have been located nearby. A Bronze Age hearth, which is similar to our fire places and used for cooking and warming a home, was also found close by.

An example of two tumuli mounds Photo © Caroline Maynard (cc-by-sa/2.0)