Paw print a history mystery
A MYSTERY big animal paw print discovered in Ashton Keynes has left archaeologists baffled.
Excited experts on the site believe the dig, just outside the village, has also uncovered evidence of one of the first farming settlements in England.
School children from Ashton Keynes Primary School got to grips with a host of interesting finds from the Cotswold village site when experts brought their hoard to their classroom earlier this month.
The discoveries that got archaeologists most excited were pre-historic flint tools from the Mesolithic period, some 8,000 years ago, and evidence of very early deforestation that puts Ashton Keynes on the map as one of the first farming settlements in England.
But an item that caught the attention and imagination of the pupils was a large unidentified paw print, the size of a wolf or big dog, that had been immortalised in leftover smelting iron. The Foundations archaeological team made their discoveries while Thames Water worked to replace a leaking water main between Ashton Keynes and the Flaxlands reservoir.
Archaeologist Rob Hedge said: "What we have found is interesting and unexpected. The pieces of flint are what I’m most excited about because we suspect they are Mesolithic in date, which is a first for this area."
Katie Thomas, a teacher at Ashton Keynes School, said: "It’s exciting to see what the village was like further back in time and to hear that people lived here 8,000 years ago."
Thames Water is replacing 3km of a main pipe, which has burst 30 times in the last 10 years. The new pipe is being laid between Gosditch and the Three Bridges and work is expected to be completed by December.