Prehistoric Wareham

9000 to 2000 BC

Bestwall-Quarry
Bestwall flooded quarry
wareham map with bestwall
Map showing Bestwall Quarry

Wareham - The home of Mesolithic man...

A major archeaological dig at Bestwall Quarry in Wareham, (the site is in Bestwall park approximately one mile from the town centre), has revealed evidence of Mesolithic, Neolithic, Iron and Bronze age activity – including the making of flints. Many thousands of finds were made including over 48,000 pieces of worked flint from the early Mesolithic age, and over 12,000 shards of Bronze age pottery. 

A middle Bronze age house along with a burnt mound were also uncovered at Bestwall, along with pottery typical of the Dorset bronze age, as well as two Bronze age copper alloy bracelets. In fact the discoveries made at Bestwall uncovered the largest collection of middle Bronze Age pottery in the country and contributed much to the understanding of pre-historic man in Wessex.

After the dig and the gravel extraction the area was created into a wildlife lake and conservation area for the RSPB. The lake can be overlooked from Bestwall park along the marked footpaths.

bestwall-kiln
Bestwall Kiln
burnished-mugs2
Burnished ware cups

Let's continue our travel through Wareham's history... !

Prehistoric Period

Prehistoric evidence has been found in Wareham, from worked flint to ancient huts…
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Roman Period

Take a trip back to the Roman age, where a Roman villa has been found…
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Saxon Age

King Alfred the Great’s battles against the Vikings, and the building of Wareham’s famous walls...
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Norman Age

During the ‘Anarchy’ civil war Wareham is again at the centre of British events…
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Renaissance period

Tudor to Stuart Period. Clashes in Wareham between the Roundheads and Cavaliers during the English Civil War, and the bloody executions on Wareham’s walls…
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Georgian Period

The Great Fire of Wareham and why Wareham was described as a ‘Rotten Borough' during this period… !
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Victorian Era

The industrial revolution results in a workhouse being built, but also later a brickworks, a pottery factory, and a brewery...
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20th Century

Wareham plays an important role in the two World Wars, and later in the century, while it loses industries, it gains thousands of tourists…
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Useful links / Further reading…

Bestwall Quarry Archaeological Project 1995

  • Download a detailed 29 page report of the Bestwall Quarry Dig, phase 4, 1995.

AGG-Net: Looking beneath the surface at Bestwall

  • Interesting article about the archaeological dig, Bestwall Quarry and development of a nature reserve.

Wareham Museum

  • The museum, located at the Town Hall in East Street, has an interesting display of local archaeology discoveries.
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