Unravelling the Palaeolithic

One of our regulars, Frank Beresford, will be presenting his research on the Palaeolithic at a conference this month.

The ‘Unravelling the Palaeolithic Symposium‘ will be held at the University of Southampton in January 2016. The multidisciplinary symposium will provide a forum to present and discuss new and innovative advances in Palaeolithic research.

Frank will be looking at a re-examination of the late nineteenth century palaeolithic finds in the Upper Ravensbourne Valley and the Upper Cray Valley of South East England. His abstract is as follows:

Many palaeolithic sites discovered in the late 19th century lacked adequate publication and coherent curation of the assemblages which were frequently fragmented and dispersed by sale or exchange or lost.  This study focuses on some sites with this type of recent history, that are located in the now dry upper valleys of the Ravensbourne and the Cray, adjacent south bank tributaries of the Thames, south east of London.  In West Wickham two men, George Clinch and Arthur Santer Kennard, discovered lithic material in the years from 1878 to 1898 while in Cudham the most prolific finds were made in the 1890s by de Barri Crawshay.  However, in 1999, John Wymer noted that both West Wickham and Cudham were  ‘alleged to have produced large numbers of surface palaeoliths in the 19th century, but few can now be found or identified as coming from the locations recorded’.

During the past four years, parts of the original collections and other finds from the same area have been identified and studied in two museums.  Partial accounts presented in various contexts that were produced during the period 1882 to 1908 have also been located and studied.  Field visits have been made to all sites. Two preliminary reports on this work have already been published (Beresford 2013, 2014) and the two final reports are now in preparation.  This presentation is an up-to-date summary.

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