Contemporaneity of Clactonian and Acheulian Flint Industries at Barnham, Suffolk

By Ashton, Nick; McNabb, John et al. | Antiquity, September 1994 | Go to article overview

Contemporaneity of Clactonian and Acheulian Flint Industries at Barnham, Suffolk


Ashton, Nick, McNabb, John, Irving, Brian, Lewis, Simon, Parfitt, Simon, Antiquity


New field evidence challenges an old-established fundamental of the Lower Palaeolithic sequence in Britain.

Excavations at the Lower Palaeolithic site at East Farm, Barnham, Suffolk (Ashton et al. in press) help to change radically the British Lower Palaeolithic sequence. Since the 1930s Barnham has formed a pillar, alongside Swanscombe (Kent), of the traditional framework, with a series of Clactonian flint industries overlain by a single Acheulian industry (Paterson 1937; Roe 1981; Wymer 1985). The two industry types were regarded as chronologically and culturally distinct, the simple core-and-flake Clactonian being replaced by a 'more advanced' industry containing bifaces. Recent work at Boxgrove, Sussex (Roberts 1990) and High Lodge, Suffolk (Ashton et al. 1992) has shown, however, that Acheulian industries also pre-date the Clactonian industries. Other work (McNabb 1992; Ashton & McNabb 1992) indicate a broad variation in British Lower Palaeolithic assemblages, the only real difference between Clactonian and Acheulian being the presence or absence of bifaces. On this basis their cultural distinctiveness has been questioned. Excavations at Barnham during August 1993 have demonstrated that the core-and-flake industry, previously described as Clactonian (Paterson 1937; Wymer 1985), is in fact in the same stratigraphic position as, and contemporary with, biface manufacture.

The site and its palaeoenvironment

At Barnham, Middle Pleistocene deposits survive in the base and around the edges of a disused clay pit. A series of glacial deposits underlie the site, consisting of Lowestoft Till and associated outwash gravels formed during the Anglian glaciation (assigned to Oxygen Isotope Stage 12, c. 450,000 years ago, Bowen et al. 1989). A late glacial/early interglacial channel, up to 7 m in depth, cut into these deposits and was subsequently infilled with sands, silts and clays. The lowest 5 m of these deposits are poorly fossiliferous, but the top 2 m of grey silts and clays have produced abundant faunal remains (Area III).

At the margins of the channel, the grey silts and clays thin and pass laterally into grey silty sands which reach a thickness of less than 30 cm. They cover a single spread of coarse gravels, consisting of medium to large flint cobbles, formed during an earlier stage of the channel's infilling. This 'lag' gravel appears to have been periodically innundated and finally covered by the grey silty sands. Evidence of soil formation has been identified in the dark brown clay unit above the grey silty sands. This unit has possibly been identified at the top of the sequence of silts and clays in the centre of the channel. The whole area was subsequently covered by 'brickearth' composed of brown clays and silts, with further evidence of soil formation at periods during deposition, indicating a complex pedosedimentary history (Kemp in Ashton et al. in press).

Around the margins of the channel the deposits are decalcified, but the upper 2 m of the grey silts and clays in the central part of the channel have yielded a rich fauna (Area III). Changes in the composition of the vertebrate fauna indicate a succession from a fluvial situation to a marsh, as the channel infilled and dried up. Initial colonization of migratory fish, such as salmonids and eel (Anguilla anguilla), gave way to species that prefer slow-moving water, in particular cyprinids and their associated predators, pike (Esox lucius) and perch (Perca fluviatilis). Towards the top of the fossiliferous sequence, the vertebrate fauna is dominated by semi-aquatic species such as frogs, toads, newts and European pond terrapin (Emys obicularis), possibly reflecting the loss of a fluvial link at the site. Pond terrapin, together with common tree frog (Hyla arborea) and Aesculapian snake (Elaphe longissima) indicate a fully interglacial climate with a mean July temperature at least 2-3 [degrees] C higher than present (Holman in Ashton et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Contemporaneity of Clactonian and Acheulian Flint Industries at Barnham, Suffolk
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.