to Isle of Wight History Centre Archive of Monthly News Items
As previously featured in the History Centre

April-June 2000

April 2000
Local historian Roy Brinton has recovered a map which may reveal clues to the Island's past. It has been drawn using a mixture of cartographic and pictorial techniques, which tentatively dates it to the end of the 16th century
  The cartographer did not possess the skills of Saxton, Norden or Speed and this has resulted as a distorted shape with a hugely pronounced elongation of the eastern half of the Island. All the features are drawn in elevation form and confined to the northern shore. This suggests the unknown cartographer may have drawn it from one or more high points along the mainland coastline. It may be significant that the only named site is 'alone house' at Alum Bay, perhaps related to early alum working. Other features shown are the Brambles sandbank, a 'symbolic' River Medina, West Cowes Castle, two windmills on the eastern string of the downs, Brading Haven and a settlement which is possibly Brading or St Helens.

May 2000
The remains of a wooden hurdle have recently been recorded on Ryde West Sands by the Isle of Wight Council's Archaeological Service
Bronze Age hurdle on Ryde beach
The hurdle is staked down by two parallel rows of posts 1.2 metres apart. A similar structure nearby has been radiocarbon dated to between 1500 and 1200 BC, which places it in the Bronze Age. The hurdles are located in an area of soft mud and it's thought they were constructed to serve as short trackways or bridges
  Following the success of the Wootton - Quarr project, English Heritage are now funding a less intensive five year programme to monitor changes to the condition of sites which have already been recorded in the intertidal zone between Wootton Creek and Ryde, and to survey new sites which are becoming exposed as the beach erodes.
Site location map

June 2000
A polished "Greenstone" Neolithic axe has recently been located in the inter-tidal zone near Thorness by staff of the IW County Archaeological Unit.
length 95 mm
width 52 mm
   The axe still has a sharp cutting edge, is in good condition and was lying on the surface in an area of mobile sand and shingle. It could not have been in this environment very long otherwise its sharp features would be smoothed by the frictional action of the sea, sand and shingle.
   Although petrological analysis of this find has not yet been carried out, the stone is very similar in surface appearance to ophirtc ohvine dolerite which has possibly originated from Cornwall, the north Welsh Marches, or perhaps Derbyshire
   The County Archaeological Collection contains a number of Neolithic axes which are composed of non-Island stone. These include implements from Craig Llwyd, Caernarvonshire, Langdale Pikes in the Lake District and Mount's Bay in Cornwall. The stone of one axe originates from north-east Scandinavia and another from Ireland. At least three Cornish "greenstone" axes have been found on our north-west coast.
   It is possible that these 'axes' reached the Island as rough-outs and final knapping and polishing took place after their arrival here.
Site location map