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Nature volume 145, pages 153154 (27 January 1940) | Download Citation



A Neolithic Trackway A POSSIBLE Neolithic trackway across the Cots-wolds has been traced by Miss C. A. Simpson and Miss Clifford and is described by them in Geography of December. It extends north-eastward from Bisley by Duntisbourne, Chedworth and Northleach to the edge of the low and swampy ground of the Windrush valley west of Bourton-on-the-Water, where it swings north and then west towards Nutgrove and beyond. In Neolithic times the limestone plateau of the Cotswolds was probably covered by low scrub and there were few trees. The valleys, however, were mainly floored by clay and sand, and afforded marshes which restricted the crossing places. On the plateau the trackway is less easy to trace, for it was probably less well defined. Long barrows in conspicuous places were probably landmarks and also the objectives of some of the travellers. Flints and stone weapons are also useful clues. On the valley sides, however, the track is frequently sunk either in clay or limestone outcrops. Projecting spurs of firmer ground often lead to the river crossing. In some places the route follows a line of present road, but more often it is marked, if marked at all, by a narrow lane, a bridle path or even a double line of hedge. The authors' discussion of the evidence to be sought in tracing the trackway has many useful indications for such work.

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