The River Thames and its surrounding valley landscape has a long and vibrant history stretching back many thousands of years
Flowing over 215 miles from the Cotswolds to the Thames Estuary, fed by around 50 tributaries and containing over 80 islands, the river carves a path through the countryside of southern England and has come to define much of the geography of the region. For centuries, the valley has supported settlements, crops and livestock, and the river has long provided opportunities and challenges for people who have sought to exploit its resources and harness its power.
Through extensive analysis and interpretation, Thames through time: the archaeology of the gravel terraces of the Upper and Middle Thames draws upon a wealth of archaeological, environmental and historical evidence to chart the social, political and economic history of the Thames Valley from early prehistory to the modern day. The source of much of this evidence comes from the gravel terraces that were laid down over millennia by the river, containing an abundance of archaeological remains. The potential of these remains has only been fully realised since the birth of developer-funded archaeology in 1990, which has enabled extensive excavation across the region.
Together, the Thames through Time series offers a detailed, recent account of how the environment of the Thames Valley has shaped human history in this region and beyond. It is not the end of the story, but a snapshot in time, highlighting the vital and continued importance of archaeology and heritage within the current planning system in England and it demonstrates the considerable public benefits to be gained through systematic examination of past landscapes.
The series is presented in four volumes. Volumes 1 (early prehistory), 2 (late prehistory) and 3 (early historical period) have been published as monographs, while volume 4 (medieval and post-medieval) is a free to download online resource. Click the links or the side menu buttons for more details.