Despite the landscape now being divided by hedges and track ways, people and their animals still needed access to water. Access to streams and rivers had been made more difficult by the hedges and so people dug large, deep water holes near their settlements and in their fields to provide this vital recourse in each of the landholdings.
While waterholes had an obvious but important practical function for Bronze Age farmers, archaeologists have suggested that watery places often held special significance for our ancestors. These waterholes may have acted as a focus for people to come together from different family groups in the landholdings to undertake ceremonies that reminded them of their past and how they had been and still were linked together to form a community. We think that as part of these ceremonies unusual artefacts such as wooden axe hafts and wooden ards (used for cultivating the soil) were placed in the waterholes. In one case a stone axe head that was already 1500 years old and probably a very important family heirloom was also placed in the waterhole. These ceremonies were an important way of maintaining the links between the family groups and reminding everyone that although they were now psychically separated by ditches and banks they still formed a community.