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Hemyock Castle
Ancient Heart of the Blackdowns

Deep Historic Links with Continental Europe

These webpages use pottery sherds (fragments) & objects found at Hemyock Castle, to explore centuries of close links with continental Europe: Links to other webpages in this series.

Stone Age: Prehistoric Blackdown Flint Stone Export Trade with Europe

Everyone in the British Isles, has arrived from somewhere else: During the last Ice Age, most of northern Europe and the British Isles were uninhabitable. 18,000 years ago, the thick glacial ice sheet stretched as far south as the Bristol Channel. The first humans started exploring perhaps 3 or 4 thousand years later; by about 11,700 years ago, as the climate warmed and the ice sheet retreated, human settlements became more widespread. Subsequently, waves of new peoples arrived to settle the land.

This prehistoric period is explored further in the new Making Connections Exhibition, at Stonehenge, created by English Heritage and the British Museum.

Photo: Blackdown Flint Stone
Blackdown Flint Stone, Near Culm Davy

During the Stone Age, flint stones extracted from the Blackdown Hills around Hemyock were traded with the peoples of continental Europe, for manufacture into stone tools. They must have been taken by boat; presumably from Devon's coast. Decorative glass beads were amongst the articles obtained in return.

Trade has evolved: Both official and unofficial trade have continued ever since; often involving local people on both sides of the English Channel.

Other webpages in this series, exploring centuries of close links with continental Europe:

European Year of Cultural Heritage – UK is the UK's part of The European Year of Cultural Heritage, a new European initiative.

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Hemyock Castle, Hemyock, CULLOMPTON, Devon, EX15 3RJ, UK.
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