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

Alistair Barclay, Silvia Bello, Philippa Bradley, Phil Harding, Lorrain Higbee, Andrew Manning, John Powell, Richard Macphail, Alison Roberts, Mark Stewart & Nick Barton

Abstract

Abstract image

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).


Authors

  • Alistair Barclay
    Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB, UK
  • Silvia Bello
    Natural History Museum, Earth Sciences, Cromwell Road, Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK
  • Philippa Bradley
    Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB, UK
  • Phil Harding
    Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB, UK
  • Lorrain Higbee
    Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB, UK
  • Andrew Manning
    Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB, UK
  • John Powell
    Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB, UK
  • Richard Macphail
    Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 31–34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY, UK
  • Alison Roberts
    Department of Antiquities, Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH, UK
  • Mark Stewart
    Wessex Archaeology, Portway House, Old Sarum Park, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6EB, UK
  • Nick Barton
    Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 35–37 Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PG, UK