William Evetts (1847–1936), the owner of Tackley Park and Wood Farm, was a passionate amateur archaeologist who built up a large collection of artefacts found on the fields around the village. He would pay his farm workers and village children if they brought him coins and flints.
After William’s death the collection was continued by his grandson Julian (1911–1996).
Over 800 coins, dating from the 3rd century BC to the 19th century and including 138 Roman coins, were donated to the Ashmolean Museum in 1936. William Evetts also donated groups of worked flints to the Pitt Rivers Museum on several occasions in the early 20th century, but the bulk of the flint collection – over a thousand items – went to his relatives after Julian’s death.
They are now on loan to the History Group and have been identified, recorded and photographed by Alison Roberts, curator of European and Early Prehistory collections at the Ashmolean and Anni Byard, local Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme.
The majority of the flint tools are from the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, but there are significant numbers from the Mesolithic and a few from the Late Upper Paleolithic. The collection documents the history of human activity in the village between the ending of the last Ice Age around 14,000 years ago and the development of settled agriculture and the end of the Bronze Age around 3,000 years ago.