The earliest evidence so far to have surfaced concerning man's activities in the Leverstock Green area, are a series of flint tools discovered during the 19th century and the early part of this century, a tiny flint flake discovered in July/August 1998 at Handpost Lodge Westwick Row, and a series of similar finds by Christopher Currie of CKC Archaeology in the region of Westwick Row, also in August 1998 . Additionally a variety of stone tools discovered in the garden of a resident of Burleigh Road, have also been identified as dating from over a wide period of time through both the Old and New Stone Ages.[SMR 10812] suggestive of continuous settlement in the area from the earliest times. (Click here to link to map of SMR sites.)
Until the recent finds by professional archaeologists in the summer of 1998, there were two separate finds at different clay pits belonging to the local brickworks. The first being a flint axe found at the Leverstock and Acorn Brickworks, just off Tile Kiln Lane, roughly where Marston Close is today. This axe was dated to the Palaeolithic period - that is the Old Stone Age. The tools were found in pockets of drift material above the brickearth. That is they were imbedded in material deposited by outwash streams from the melting glaciers of the ice-age. However, it is worth remembering that at this time (about 10,000 - 8,000 BC) the physical map of the country as we know it today did not exist, and we were still part of continental Europe, with the Thames flowing into the Rhine. Britain did not become an island until approximately 8,000 BC [S216; CAR refs. 0094, 1303 2276; S158 S228; S229; S230; S231; S326. Click here to link to list of Chronicle Source references.]
A further set of Palaeolithic tools were discovered at "Ellinghams Pit", at the Brickfields off Woodlane End. by a man called Worthington Smith. These were flint hand axes some of which are now held at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. In the Transactions of the Hertfordshire Natural History Society, Volume 14. 1909-1912 there is a superb full page plate of one of the best handaxes found on the site, and the following information with regard to its exact location;"at least six of these well formed implements were found by Worthington Smith at Ellingham's Pit, which lay north east of the Saracens Head Pub." [S216; CAR refs. 0094, 1303 2276; S158 S228; S229; S230; S231.]
In July/August 1998 an archaeological evaluation was undertaken as part of the conditions imposed when outline planing permission was granted to build 5 detached houses within the present grounds of Handpost Lodge Westwick Row. The work commissioned from Archaeological Consultants: Bedfordshire County Archaeology Service. as part of their work they undertook excavation of trial trenches and test pits. Most of their finds were of Roman origin, and will be dealt with in later chapters, but a single utilised flint flake weighing 10g was found in the topsoil of trench 1. [S326]
Also in July/August 1998 archaeological consultant Christopher Currie was commissioned by the Crown Estate to undertake a desktop survey of the area around Westwick Row, following the request by Leverstock Green Village Association from the Crown Estate for permission to undertake a geophysical survey on land belonging to Westwick Row Farm, opposite Westwick Warren. Not content with a search amongst the archives, Christopher Currie visited Westwick Row on two occasions (during the course of which he had a long discussion with the author of this Chronicle) and also picked up and registered various artefacts he discovered whilst walking the fields after harvest.
Included in these finds were various flint flakes. [S327]
In the Autumn of 2006, prior to widening the M1, considerable aracheological work was undertaken at Junction 8, and also further up th eMotorway at Junction 9. Amongst the finds, particulaly at Junction 9 was evidence of flint knapping, and possible early industrial activity. For further details click here.