As anyone travelling on the roads of southeast England between 2006 and 2008 has probably been aware, major improvements have recently been made at the junction of the M25 and A2 motorways, south of the main Dartford crossing of the River Thames (Fig. 1). The roadworks, funded by the UK Highways Agency, with the main contractors Jacobs Babtie and Costain, were accompanied by archaeological investigations carried out by Oxford Archaeology between 2003 and 2006. The archaeological programme had a major Palaeolithic/Pleistocene element under my direction (Fig. 2) that has produced evidence of Neanderthal occupation early in the last glaciation (the Devensian, which lasted from 115 000 to 10 000 bp), during a period when Britain had until now, been thought to have been entirely deserted
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