This patch of grass is all that is left of Lismore Fields. Most of the land was developed in the 1980s to build new houses. You might have walked through the estate to get here.
6,000 years ago, somebody else thought this was a good place to live too.
Archaeologists investigated the land before the estate was created. They discovered pottery, stone tools and the remains of three buildings built 6,000 to 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic. This was a time people began to farm the landscape rather than only hunt or gather wild resources.
The evidence isn’t clear whether all three buildings stood together at the same time. One seems to have been taken down with post-holes carefully filled in. The other two structures looked like they burnt down. Charred plant remains from the site include emmer grain, chaff and flax seeds, hazelnuts, crab apples and other seeds – providing clues about both the wild and domestic plants used by the community Lismore Fields.
One of the most important discoveries was a fragment of bowl, which is still amongst the oldest pots discovered in Britain. Analysis of the pot revealed traces of milk, animal fats and vegetable matter. All clues to the new diet of Derbyshire’s first farmers.
Alongside farming, pottery was another key ingredient of the ‘Neolithic revolution’ that was occurring throughout Britain. Pots provided new ways to cook and store food. This bowl probably had a round bottom so it could be placed on uneven ground. To stop pots exploding the heat of the fire, potters added crushed limestone the strengthen the clay.
The Neolithic farmers of Lismore Fields can claim the title of ‘Oldest Building in Buxton’. But the site also produced stone tools and debris dated to the Mesolithic, or ‘Middle Stone Age’, a time before farming was practiced in Britain. These highly mobile people lit fires and backfilled their rubbish into pits at their camp. Archaeologists found scatters of flint from tool making, and charcoal in the soil. We think people were burning patches of the heavily forested landscape to attract new growth, and with it, animals to hunt. There’s no hard evidence of any built structures. The ‘Oldest Campsite in Buxton’ perhaps?