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A new Later Upper Palaeolithic open-air site with articulated horse bone in the Colne Valley, Berkshire

  • Alistair Barclay (a1), Silvia Bello (a2), Philippa Bradley (a1), Phil Harding (a1), Lorrain Higbee (a1), Andrew Manning (a1), John Powell (a1), Richard Macphail (a3), Alison Roberts (a4), Mark Stewart (a1) and Nick Barton (a5)...

Extract

The end of the last Ice Age in Britain (c. 11500 BP) created major disruption to the biosphere. Open habitats were succeeded by more wooded landscapes, and changes occurred to the fauna following the abrupt disappearance of typical glacial herd species, such as reindeer and horse (Conneller & Higham 2015). Understanding the impact of these changes on humans and how quickly they were able to adapt may soon become clearer, due to recent discoveries in the Colne Valley on the western edge of Greater London, north of the River Thames. An exceptionally well-preserved open-air site was discovered in 2014 as part of a wider project of archaeological investigation and excavation carried out by Wessex Archaeology (2015), on behalf of CEMEX UK. The site, at Kingsmead Quarry in Horton, is unusual because it has good organic preservation and, in addition to worked flint artefacts, it has yielded groups of articulated horse bone. The extreme rarity of such sites of this period in Britain makes this discovery especially significant and re-emphasises the potential importance of the Colne Valley (Lacaille 1963; Lewis 2011; Morgi et al. 2011).

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence (Email: a.barclay@wessexarch.co.uk)

References

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Barton, R.N.E. 2010. Regional and chronological patterns in lithic raw material behaviour during the Late Glacial and some implications for the British Later Upper Palaeolithic. Lithics: the Journal of the Lithic Studies Society 31: 111.
Bronk Ramsey, C & Lee, S.. 2013. Recent and phased development of the program OxCal. Radiocarbon 55: 720–30. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033822200057878
Chaffey, G.S., Barclay, A.J. & Pelling, R.. Forthcoming. Horton: volume 1—excavations at Kingsmead Quarry, 2003–2009. Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology Monograph.
Conneller, C. & Higham, T.. 2015. The early Mesolithic colonisation of Britain: preliminary results, in Ashton, N. & Harris, C. (ed.) No stone unturned. Papers in honour of Roger Jacobi: 157–66. London: Lithic Studies Society
Jones, P. 2013. Upper Palaeolithic sites in the lower courses of the River Colne and Wey: excavations at Church Lammas and Wey Manor Farm (SpoilHeap Monograph 5). Woking: South-east and Surrey County Council.
Lacaille, A.D. 1963. Mesolithic industries beside Colne Waters in Iver and Denham Buckinghamshire. Rec Buckinghamshire 17: 143–81.
Lewis, J.S.C. with Rackham, K.. 2011. Three Ways Wharf, Uxbridge: a Late Glacial and Early Holocene hunter-gatherer site in the Colne Valley (MoLAS Monograph 51). London: MoLAS.
Morgi, A., Schreve, D., White, M., Hey, G., Garwood, P., Robinson, M., Barclay, A. & Bradley, P.. 2011. The Thames through time: the archaeology of the gravel terraces of the Upper and Middle Thames, early prehistory to 1500 BC (Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph 32). Oxford: Oxford Archaeology.
Wessex Archaeology. 2015. Kingsmead Quarry, Horton, Berkshire. Late Upper Paleolithic site, extraction phase 15 east. 2014. Post-excavation assessment and updated project design 4c. Unpublished report 89664.01. Wessex Archaeology.

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