As well as fresh water, the Thames provided prehistoric people with a wide range of natural resources such as reeds, rushes and timber for building. The river bed was also full of flint nodules (large lumps), which were vital for making sharp tools.

The fertile river banks were farmed and the grain, along with other local produce, was exchanged for other necessities such as stone, metal and salt. Wildlife was also plentiful. There were many types of fish and birds, and small mammals like beavers and otters. The harpoon in the photograph is made of antler and was used to catch both fish and birds.

Larger animals, including deer and cattle, also came down to the river to drink. Seasonal runs of salmon, migrating birds and the occasional beached whale would have supplemented this diverse diet.

Together, this made the Thames Valley a very prosperous place to live.

Today, over 120 different species of fish, including salmon, live in the Thames.

  1. Introduction (this page)
  2. How did the Thames shape the landscape?
  3. What did prehistoric people eat?
  4. Was the Thames an important communication route?
  5. Did prehistoric people worship the Thames?
  6. Was the Thames a defensive barrier?
  7. Further information