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Environmental heterogeneity of the Lower Palaeolithic land surface on the Goodwood-Slindon Raised Beach: comparisons of the records from Boxgrove and Valdoe, Sussex, UK

Preece, RC; Parfitt, Simon; (2022) Environmental heterogeneity of the Lower Palaeolithic land surface on the Goodwood-Slindon Raised Beach: comparisons of the records from Boxgrove and Valdoe, Sussex, UK. Journal of Quaternary Science 10.1002/jqs.3409. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The buried soil above the Goodwood-Slindon Raised Beach running along the foot of the South Downs (Sussex) is one of the most extensive Lower Palaeolithic land surfaces known. It extends for 16 km but exposures are limited to Boxgrove, the focus of archaeological excavations since the 1980s, and Valdoe, 4.8 km to the west. The palaeosol yielded vertebrates suggesting attribution to Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 13 and land snails important in the reconstruction of local environments. Important differences exist between the molluscan assemblages from Valdoe and Boxgrove. An extinct land snail Retinella (Lyrodiscus) elephantium, previously known in Britain only from MIS 11, occurred at Valdoe at unusually high frequencies in assemblages poor in woodland species, prompting a reappraisal of its stratigraphical and ecological significance. Conversely, Spermodea lamellata, a woodland species present at Boxgrove, was absent at Valdoe. This lateral variability results both from the original heterogeneity of the environment, and from differential preservation resulting from decalcification and erosion. Calcitic slug plates are over-represented (>50% of the molluscan fauna) in decalcified sediments where shells composed of aragonite are rare. These considerations, and comparisons with modern and fossil assemblages, have led to more nuanced reconstructions of the landscape occupied by early humans in southern England ~500 ka ago.

Type: Article
Title: Environmental heterogeneity of the Lower Palaeolithic land surface on the Goodwood-Slindon Raised Beach: comparisons of the records from Boxgrove and Valdoe, Sussex, UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/jqs.3409
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1002/jqs.3409
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors Journal of Quaternary Science Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Keywords: Boxgrove, decalcification, land snail analysis, Lyrodiscus, MIS 13, Valdoe, vertebrates
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10144746
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