Old Barnwell bones are a treasure!

When you successfully crack the different ‘KEY’ sections of the Barnwell Puzzle Trail, you’re going to be unlocking some useful ‘treasures’.

  • A clue to help solve the final puzzle
  • Details of how to claim a small reward
  • Nuggets of information about your neighbourhood, including interesting ‘Did you know?’ facts you might not have been aware of.

One of the nuggets that we particularly love is this:

“The lake behind the football stadium (Barnwell Lake) is an old clay quarry from the days when brick-making was carried out here in the 19th Century. Archaeologists examining the clay deposits have found elephant bones, hippopotamus and rhino bones in the vicinity, with evidence that they were worked on by humans to make tools and weapons.”

That’s so exciting! You can actually see some of the old animal remains, dated to thousands of years ago, in museums around Britain. There’s a mammoth tooth dated to 20,000 years ago found in Chesterton near Barnwell, and a hippo skeleton from some 120,000 years ago from nearby Barrington. It’s hard to imagine, but the climate in Britain during the Stone age (from 500,000 to 3,000 years ago) was at one time sub-tropical, not dissimilar to the climate of parts of Africa today. Then at other times, it was frozen, icy tundra where not even a tree would grow.

Hippo in water (CC-BY-3.0 - Alexdi at en.wikipedia)

(Image CC-BY-3.0 attr Alexdi @ en.wikipedia)

As you’re exploring Barnwell this summer, imagine what it would have been like in those tropical times, with hippos, elephant and hyenas around the corner!