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New palaeontological evidence suggests an early Middle Pleistocene age for the lower levels of Sun Hole Cave, Cheddar, Somerset, UK

Parfitt, SA; Preece, RC; (2022) New palaeontological evidence suggests an early Middle Pleistocene age for the lower levels of Sun Hole Cave, Cheddar, Somerset, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association , 133 (2) pp. 162-175. 10.1016/j.pgeola.2022.03.001. Green open access

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Abstract

Sun Hole, a small fissure cave on the north side of Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, is best known as the site where late Upper Palaeolithic artefacts are associated with human and other mammal remains that immediately pre-date the Lateglacial interstadial. These remains from the upper levels (Unit I) overlie sediments (Unit II) that are thought to have accumulated during a full glacial period, below which are sediments (Unit III) attributed to an interglacial stage. The extinct land snail Retinella (Lyrodiscus) sp., which in Britain was only known from the Hoxnian Stage, had previously been recovered from Unit III. The interglacial at the base of the sequence was therefore assigned to the Hoxnian Stage (Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 11, 424–374 kyr). Here we provide additional analyses of samples from Unit III, which as well as containing further Retinella (Lyrodiscus), also yielded a specimen of Monachoides incarnatus, its first record from the British Pleistocene. An associated assemblage of small mammals included a few that are rare in the British Pleistocene, such as birch mouse (Sicista cf. betulina) and garden dormouse (Eliomys quercinus). The vole Lasiopodomys gregaloides and the shrew Sorex (Drepanosorex) savini do not occur as late as the Hoxnian and therefore suggest an older age in the early Middle Pleistocene. The record from Sun Hole therefore has parallels with the well-known sequence from the upper Calcareous Member in the nearby cavern system at Westbury-sub-Mendip.

Type: Article
Title: New palaeontological evidence suggests an early Middle Pleistocene age for the lower levels of Sun Hole Cave, Cheddar, Somerset, UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2022.03.001
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2022.03.001
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Geologists' Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Sun Hole, Cheddar Gorge, Land snails, Lyrodiscus, Small mammals, Early Middle Pleistocene
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/10147430
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