Flint axes, dating to very early times, found in various parts of Chiswick, suggest that people have been living here since the last Ice Age, and tools and pottery found on Chiswick Eyot imply that the first people to have a settled lifestyle made a home on the island. A later settlement, dating to the 9th-8th c BC, was excavated opposite Gunnersbury Station and over 100 skulls dredged from the Thames opposite Strand-on-the-Green are believed to have been river burials made by Iron Age people (650BC-43AD), maybe as offerings to their Gods. The Romans were here too â€“ they built two Roman roads through Chiswick which probably converged at Turnham Green and Roman building material and pottery has been found by the river near St Nicholas Church. There is less evidence for the Saxons, although they were undoubtedly in Chiswick (`Chiswickâ€™ is a Saxon word meaning `cheese farmâ€™). A Saxon skeleton was found by the river at Corney Reach, and Saxon objects such as spearheads, a sword pommel, scraps of armour and the remains of a shield have been found near the river. Perhaps the fact that the finds are of a military nature is hardly surprising since the Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells us that, in 1016, King Edmund of England chased Canute and the invading Danes across the Thames at Brentford.
Â©Gillian Clegg, 2007