The Palaeolithic in Worcestershire, UK

A.D. Shaw, N. Daffern, O. Russell


In this paper we present the results of the first detailed study of the Palaeolithic archaeological record from Worcestershire. We demonstrate the presence of fluvially derived Lower Palaeolithic artefacts (mostly bifaces) associated with terrace gravels of the rivers Severn, Avon and Carrant Brook and identify the first possible evidence of earlier Middle Palaeolithic archaeology from the west Midlands. We also discuss the important, but largely overlooked, middle Devensian (~60–26 ky BP) archaeology from the Carrant Brook. Broadly associated with extensive palaeoenvironmental proxies and sizeable Devensian mammalian faunal assemblages, this contains evidence indicative of three phases of human activity attributable to the late Middle (~58 ky BP), final Middle (~38–36 ky BP) and early Upper Palaeolithic (~33–31 ky BP). Obtained from two localities (Beckford Priory and Aston Mill gravel pits), the three groups all contain artefacts which have undergone minimal reworking. They are indicative of a significant middle Devensian landscape associated with dynamic fluvial and geliflucted deposits within the Carrant Brook valley.

Full reference: Shaw, A.D., Daffern, N. & Russell, O. 2015. The Palaeolithic in Worcestershire, UK. Lithics: the Journal of the Lithic Studies Society 36: 41–54.

Keywords: Lower Palaeolithic, earlier Middle Palaeolithic, late Middle Palaeolithic, final Middle Palaeolithic, early Upper Palaeolithic, Middle Devensian, bifaces, Levallois, blade production, Leaf Points, Aurignacian, Worcestershire.

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