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At the Headwaters of the English Channel River: Considering Late Neanderthal Archaeology in the Sussex Weald

Pope, MI; Scott, B; Blundell, L; Cutler, H; (2015) At the Headwaters of the English Channel River: Considering Late Neanderthal Archaeology in the Sussex Weald. In: Ashton, N and Harris, C, (eds.) No Stone Unturned: paper in Honour of Roger Jacobi. Lithic Studies Society

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Abstract

The Cretaceous landscapes of the Weald, in southern Britain, have been largely bypassed by Palaeolithic research for almost a century. After the betrayal of Piltdown, the moderate interest held in the river gravels of the region waned and the finds from the interfluves were largely restricted to isolated handaxes perceived as offering little research potential. But the results of recent excavations carried out at the site of Beedings in West Sussex, suggest that the potential of Wealden geologies in general and the Lower Greensand in particular should be reconsidered. The excavations revealed local capture points in the form of fissures within bedrock (gulls) preserving Late Middle Palaeolithic (LMP) and Early Upper Palaeolithic (EUP) material in broad stratigraphic succession at shallow depth and within datable, fine-grained sediments. Encouraged by Roger Jacobi, who suggested to us a wider consideration of Palaeolithic archaeology from the Lower Greensand of Sussex, we present in this paper an overview of isolated finds in the Weald and consider what they might be able to tell us about both processes of artefact preservation and the potential landscape preferences of late Neanderthal populations. More generally we outline a framework in which the data provided by these ‘interfluve’ records can begin to bring areas of the landscape away from the river terraces under closer scrutiny, offering research directions which can begin to address the role Plateau, Interfluve and Escarpment edge (PIE) locations played in Palaeolithic settlement. The paper concludes by proposing a Unified Palaeolithic Landscape Approach, one which integrates the entire landscapes record at a regional scale into a model of past human activity and geomorphological change. We suggest that until a more unified account of the record is attempted and PIE contexts addressed directly by British Palaeolithic research and then integrated with that of similar landscapes on the near continents, we run the risk of developing interpretations of the record which are unhelpfully skewed towards the records of fluvial environments.

Type: Book chapter
Title: At the Headwaters of the English Channel River: Considering Late Neanderthal Archaeology in the Sussex Weald
Publisher version: http://www.lithics.org/publications/no-stone-untur...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology ASE
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1462918
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