During the Jurassic period the place we call the midlands was to be found at the bottom of an inland sea. Henry found a devils toe nail in rose garden shortly after we moved here. Its distant relation of the mussel, only about 65 million years older.
The Warwickshire area has almost certainly been inhabited since Prehistoric times, with the arrival of the first people half a million years ago during the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Small family groups roamed the thickly wooded landscape in search of food using simple stone tools such as hand-axes and scrapers. The total population of the area in those days may have been as low as 40. There is evidence of a temporary camp site at Waverley Wood Farm Pit, near Leamington Spa, whilst elsewhere, particularly in north Warwickshire, large numbers of hand-axes have been found suggesting repeated visits. This early phase came to an end with the onset of the Ice Age during which there is no evidence of a human presence in Warwickshire.
Human groups returned to the area around 10,500 years ago at the beginning of the Mesolithic period or Middle Stone Age. As the climate became warmer and the ice sheets retreated, the habitat changed and the forest was re-established. These people were hunter-gatherers who used bows and arrows and had domesticated dogs to help them in the chase. This period is characterised by the use of microliths, small delicately worked points set into arrowshafts. Other flint tools were used for working wood and bone and for cleaning skins. Some 20 sites are known in Warwickshire of which the most important is Blacklow Hill, near Warwick. Excavations here have revealed a substantial tool-making site. Other sites are known in the Avon valley and intensive fieldwork around Nuneaton has produced a large number of finds and evidence of several settlement sites.
Around 6,000 years ago the hunter-gatherer way of life was gradually being replaced by a simple farming economy, thus further modifying their habitat. These Neolithic or New Stone Age people raised sheep, pigs and cattle, and grew cereal crops. They used fire and stone axes to make clearings in the woodland where they could build farms and lay out fields. A flint arrowhead from this period has been recovered from Wolston.
The Bronze Age was a time of change, the scattered farming communities were coming together into tribal groups with powerful leaders. Metal was now in use and objects were being made out of copper and bronze. There are a number of weapons such as swords and spearheads cast in bronze found in Warwickshire. There is also evidence of people taking care of their appearance, two bronze razors have been recorded recently in South Warwickshire. Warwickshire being a rich agricultural area farming continued to expand and by 1500 BC much of the woodland had been cleared and settled.
In the Iron Age, the area contained small farmsteads such as the settlement at Wasperton, near Warwick. The main building was a thatched round house where the family and some of the livestock lived and around it workshops, storehouses and stock pens. The whole settlement was surrounded by a deep ditch which kept out wild animals. During times of trouble the population may have taken refuge in one of a number of hillforts such as Meon Hill near Stratford or Oldbury near Nuneaton. The remains of around twelve Iron Age hill forts have been found in the Warwickshire area.