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The Iron Age

Archaeological finds from the Iron Age found at locations within Walthamstow and its marshes show human settlement continued there, and presumably Leyton Marshes as well.

Ritual killings and burials in bogs were a feature of Iron Age culture but none has been found in or near the Lea Valley.

By Roman times, the end of the Iron Age in Britain, tree cover cannot have been hugely greater than now 1.  Pollen samples taken at the site of Stratford International Station contain hazel and dogwood from the late mesolithic to bronze ages but grass by Roman times, and nettle which might indicate some arable farming 2.

Within Epping Forest substantial bank and ditch enclosures were dug at Amesbury and Loughton, perhaps used as refuges for people and livestock.  Iron Age people had settlements at Uphall, Little Ilford and what later became Stratford Market 3.

In the generations before the Roman Conquest Leyton was on or near the boundary between the territories of the Catuvellauni based at Wheathampstead and later St Albans and the Trinovantes based near Colchester, but we do not know for how long Leyton had been at the boundary of Iron Age territories.  The Catuvellauni and the Trinovantes were united under Cunobelin at the time of the Roman Conquest and probably other periods 4.

2  Talk to the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society by Andy Crockett, Senior Project Manager, Wessex Archaeology, March 2008

1  The History of the Countryside’ by Oliver Rackham

3  The Times History of London edited by Hugh Clout, 4th edition 2004 page 21

4  ‘Prehistoric and Roman Essex’ by James Kemble