The creators of the earliest of these flint
tools were people such as Neanderthals, who were stockier in build
than 'modern' humans, and had heavy, prominent faces. 'Modern'
humans, people much more like us, became dominant about 35,000
years ago. We know that these people, of the palaeolithic period
('Old Stone Age',c.500,000 to c.8500 BC), were few in number, and
that they were very skilled hunter-gatherers, able to live off the
land without any formal method of agriculture.
The Peterborough area was on the fringe of the
glaciers during the last Ice Age, and when it ended, around 10,000
years ago, people moved once more into the thawing landscape. This
was probably a very mobile population, following game migrations
and seasonal foodstuffs across the country. The river valleys
served as hunting grounds and as corridors to ease travel through
the heavily wooded landscape. Rising sea levels, and the
sluggish progress of the rivers flowing to the North Sea, caused
reed swamp to develop in the Fens. Trees toppled, and were
submerged for thousands of years, re-appearing as 'bog oaks' when
the Fens were eventually drained.