St Edmundsbury

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 Sue Ryder
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ARCHAEOLOGY - The First Farmers 4800 - 2500 BC

Sometime after 5000 BC a new economy and new technology including pottery begin to appear. The Neolithic or New Stone Age as it is called features a much more sophisticated toolkit of flint with blades, knives, scrapers and other flake tools, together with leaf-shaped arrowheads. People were now farming: domesticating animals, growing crops. Permanent settlements now appear for the first time, and we can even see trade links emerging. Stone axes made in Cornwall, Wales and Cumbria have been found locally and a massive flint mine at Grimes Graves was exporting flint far and wide by 2600 BC. One of the earliest known farmsteads in Britain, dating from around 3500 BC, was found at Hurst Fen, Mildenhall. Evidence is now appearing for the first time to distinguish the "haves" from the "have-nots": high status burial rites must have been for a tiny élite; purely symbolic instruments of power like "mace-heads" are now made and used.