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Beyond the caves: the Palaeolithic rivers of south-west Britain

The Ussher Society
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  • Archaeology
  • Earth Science


This paper introduces a new English Heritage (Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund) project The Palaeolithic Rivers of South-West Britain (project no. 3847), and summarises the results of a first phase resource assessment. The goal of this ongoing project is to develop a new synthesis of the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic occupation of the south-west region, focusing upon river terrace-based archaeology and its implications for hominin landscape use. The resource assessment has reached two preliminary conclusions. Firstly that the region’s earliest Palaeolithic archaeological record is significantly richer than previously believed, and secondly that although find locations have been added in several areas which previously had very few or no finds (e.g.West Cornwall) the overall bias of finds to the south coast is maintained. The project has also revealed that the river terrace resource of South-West England offers potential for geochronological dating, landscape reconstruction, and improved contextualisation of the archaeological material. Some outreach components of the project are also summarised.

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