The Cotswolds are an area of productive farmland on a plateau between Cheltenham and Oxford. They have rolling hills and gentle valleys.
The earliest visible remains are long barrows. These are scattered around the hilltops and are more numerous than average, showing that there must have been a large population in the Neolithic.
There are some round barrows though none of any great scale. A couple of stone circles and standing stones are the only other visible evidence of Bronze Age inhabitation. Perhaps the sites have been destroyed by centuries of ploughing.
People returned in large numbers in the Iron Age. There are numerous hillforts in a range of sizes. Almost any new building in the valleys turns up Iron Age post holes. On excavating before extending the primary school in Bourton-on-the-Water a set of huts and a rubbish pit containing the body of a young girl was found. A reconstruction of one small hut now stands in the playground.
The area is crammed with villas. The farms here produced a large proportion of the grain for the Empire. Cirencester hosts a dramatic earth-built amphitheatre. The Fosse Way still carries the main road north-south.
Black Death and changing farm methods spelled the end of the large farming population in the Cotswolds. There are hundreds of deserted Medieval villages.