Neolithic to Iron Age: Overview
(about 6000 to 4000 years ago)
The evidence for humans living in the area also dates back many thousands of years, to the Stone Age. Flint tools dating to the Neolithic period or New Stone Age have been discovered at the Bayle. There is some evidence to suggest that Castle Hill (sometimes referred to, inaccurately, as ‘Caesar’s Camp’) was the site of Neolithic occupation.
Bronze Age period
(about 4000 years ago)
During archaeological excavations prior to building the Channel Tunnel, an important early Bronze Age settlement with ‘round houses’, trackways and fields, was discovered at Holywell Coombe, nestling between Castle Hill and Sugarloaf Hill. During the Bronze Age important people were sometimes buried under large circular mounds known as ‘round barrows’. Several of these still exist on the hills overlooking Folkestone. Several more barrows have been identified from the circular ditches that still survive in the earth (where soil was dug out to build the mound), although their mounds have been ploughed away by modern farming.
Iron Age period
(about 700 BC to AD 43)
During the Iron Age the Folkestone area seems to have become an important place, perhaps controlled by a powerful tribe that, by the end of the period, was known as the Cantiaci or Cantii. By the 1st century BC East Wear Bay had become a place of industry making quern stones (for grinding grain into flour) from the Greensand rock that outcrops at Copt Point.
These and probably other goods were then traded locally and almost certainly with other Iron Age tribes on the Continent. Archaeological evidence suggests that, in return, fine pottery from Gaul and wine from Italy were imported through East Wear Bay. A large number of Iron Age coins known as ‘potins’ has also been found at Folkestone, indicating the wealth of the people who lived there in the late 1st century BC. Some Late Iron Age cremation burials (the bone placed in pottery vessels) have been found.