No-one knows exactly when the first settlers arrived in the area of Stevenage. The only evidence we have comes from archaeological finds. It is likely that at the beginning of the Stone Age, or Palaeolithic period, people were attracted to the area around Stevenage for the flint nodules within the chalk rocks. These hard stones were chipped away, or ‘knapped’ to make tools and weapons.
In the Neolithic period (around 5,000 BC), human activity gradually changed from hunting and gathering, to settling the land and farming. These people brought with them their own religious beliefs, and a structure similar to Stonehenge once existed at Weston Park.
As prehistoric man developed, new ideas and techniques evolved. He learned to make alloy metals such as bronze from copper and tin, which was stronger and more adaptable to be moulded into objects such as axe heads. He also began to trade and travel more and track-ways criss-crossed the area. These tracks played a major part in Stevenage’s history.
In the Iron Age, around 500 BC to AD 43, the Catuvellauni tribes came to settle in the area, migrating from Northern France and Belgium. Their tribal empire stretched well beyond what became ‘Hertfordshire’ and they brought with them trade links, wealth, prestige and power. With this came the need for protection and defence works were constructed around many of the Catuvellauni major settlements.