Having a Dig at the Past; Night & Day

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), June 15, 1997 | Go to article overview

Having a Dig at the Past; Night & Day


Byline: LEWIS WOLPERT

Fairweather Eden by Michael Pitts & Mark Roberts Century [pounds sterling]17.99 There's no doubt the ancient Britons were much more intelligent than anyone could possibly have imagined. Discoveries at Boxgrove have presented us with a completely new picture of life in West Sussex half a million years ago.

This remarkable book tells in thrilling form the nature of these discoveries and their significance.

At the centre of the book are archaeology and Mark Roberts. Roberts' first survey of Boxgrove was in 1982 when he was a needy student at the London Institute of Archaeology, struggling to find money for beer and pencils.

Just a few years later, with money from English Heritage, he would dig with a team of students. And the passion of both professionals and amateurs - volunteers - for helping with the work is one of the many striking aspects of the book.

One of the special features of the Boxgrove site was that the layers which the archaeologists were interested in sat underneath commercially valuable deposits of gravel that were being removed, thus giving immediate and easy access to the wonderful material contained below.

Fossils have long captivated the imagination; in 1819, the Reverend William Buckland argued that fossil remains in a cave in Yorkshire lent support to the Biblical story of creation and the Flood. The theories of Buckland and other enthusiasts from the last century - before Darwin - are here beautifully interleaved with the Boxgrove saga. After Darwin the search was for the `missing link' between humans and apes. But even more important than the bones of such a link is the mentality of our ancient ancestors; was there, when it came to intellect, anything missing?

Hominids, our ancestors after the split with the apes, came to Europe round about a million years ago - a time when England and France were joined by a land bridge at their closest parts. The first evidence of modern human remains dates back only about 50,000 years, so what the hominids were doing for that million or so years is of the greatest interest.

Much of field archaeology is just hard work and requires considerable discipline. Everything has to be very carefully recorded; the context of each find is crucial. How exciting, then, that at Boxgrove a human tibia and two teeth (molars) should have been found in layers that were dated as being nearly half-a-million years old. The tibia was found by Roger Pederson, one of those dedicated amateurs who have played such an important role in field archaeology. He thought it just might be human, and the experts confirmed it. In May 1994, the discovery made headline news - `Europe's oldest man has been found in southern England'. …

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

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Having a Dig at the Past; Night & Day
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.