AN EXPERT from Channel 4's Time Team has confirmed that evidence uncovered at a Little Marlow site shows human activity from up to 5,000 years ago.

The discoveries came as a great surprise to members of Archaeology in Marlow, who began the digs at Warren Wood expecting to be finding medieval items.

Yet, Paul Blinkhorn, a pottery specialist from the popular television programme has told the organisation that some flint pieces date back to between the late Neolithic age - 3000 to 2500BC - to the early Bronze Age -2500 to 1800BC.

Mr Blinkhorn carried out tests on the artefacts, one of which even carried the impressions of a finger print.

AIM found 82 pieces of pottery, mainly from a pot, at the Winchbottom Road location.

The Pottery was dated from the late Bronze Age (1200 to 800BC) and the early Iron Age (800 to 500BC).

John Laker, AIM's site director, said: "We found large amounts of this iron age pot which was a total surprise, we thought why on earth do you find this in the middle of a medieval site?

"We found traces of mankind at the site going back to the neolithic and iron age, we thought this must have been an important site for a long time.

"It was a pleasant surprise, we weren't expecting to find anything like that."

But he does not believe a permanent settlement existed there as far back as 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.

"It was probably transitory, they may have had a camp site with a fire there and moved on or something," he speculated.

"I don't think the people from the neolithic part of the stone age would specifically have been living there but certainly they may have had a small base there or just gathered there from time to time."

Enclosures, which had been accurately surveyed previously, were thought to be medieval but no decisive dating evidence had been found.

AIM uncovered plenty of Medieval material, ranging from 1050AD to 1700AD including roof tiles, pottery, ten metal items and five pieces of bone.

"This suggests occupation over a period of at least 350 years, probably starting with a wooden building, which was then replaced with a grander building complete with a tiled roof," Mr Laker said..

Excitingly, Mr Laker believes the excavations so far have only scratched the surface, with more digs planned, starting this weekend.

On March 20 the finds so far will be presented and the full report launched at 8pm in Liston Hall.

TELEVISION archaeology expert Paul Blinkhorn said he was impressed with the finds by Marlow's own time team, which could enhance knowledge of this period of history in Bucks.

He told the Marlow Free Press: "Local groups like AIM are doing a lot of important work these days. AIM are doing a thoroughly professional job.

"Most excavation in this country gets done in advance of commercial development, paid for by the developer, and there's rarely enough time or money to thoroughly examine the sites under threat. "Projects like Warren Wood means we get the chance to examine sites which would otherwise not get excavated, as they are not under any immediate threat of destruction.

"It also means there's no time-pressure to get them dug, to the diggers can excavate slowly and carefully, and come back year after year."

He said he was surprised that some artefacts date to the Iron Age and how well preserved they were.

He added: "I don't often do sites from the prehistoric era with Time Team, but considering the small scale of the AIM excavations, they're very good finds.

"From my understanding, the early Iron Age is far less well understood in south Bucks than the north, so sites like this have the potential to considerably enhance our knowledge of the period in the region."