Evidence that human habitation existed in the Trent valley where Barrow upon Trent now sits can be found stretching right back to the Iron Age, and embracing Viking and Anglo Saxon communities.
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Signs of these people’s presence have been found in all areas of the parish, and recent gravel quarrying has uncovered evidence of Iron Age barrows (cremation sites), and early fish traps,
Mesolithic (4,500 BC – 8,300 BC) and Palaeolithic (8,300 BC – 250,000 BC) flint bladelets, scraper and flakes have been discovered, along with various pottery sherds, including a medieval strap handle from a jug and other medieval sherds, typically indicative of cheese making.
Arleston is also the site of an abandoned medieval village.
The relics of the Viking presence in this area can also be seen at the Derby museum in the form of a Viking spearhead exhibit found on the bank of the Trent at Barrow in the 1950s.
The capital of the ancient kingdom of Mercia was situated at Repton, just 4 kilometres South West across the river valley.
In 873/4 the Danish Great Heathen Army overwintered at Repton, the only place in England where a winter encampment has yet been located, identified by a mass grave of some 250 individuals, covered by the kerb stone of its former cairn.
Three kilometres south west of the Parish on the southern side of the River Trent, the Viking barrow cemetery at Heath Wood, Ingleby is an almost unique survival of the period
At the eastern end of the Parish there is evidence of an Iron Age/Romano-British settlement
Evidence from The Heritage Gateway of an Iron Age/Romano-British settlement
One kilometre to the South East of the Parish Swarkestone Causeway, a Grade I listed Bridge and Causeway, at almost a mile in length, is the longest stone bridge in England. It is also the most Southerly point reached by the troops of Prince Charles Stuart in the Jacobite rising of 1745
On the western border of the parish a tumulus is located. Round Hill Bowl Barrow is a Late Neolithic henge within which is a centrally placed Bronze Age barrow. It is also said to contain the remains of Civil War casualties.
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CC BY-NC Barrow on Trent Parish History Research Group