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The Clactonian elephant butchery site at Southfleet Road, Ebbsfleet, UK

By F.F. Wenban-Smith, P. Allen, M.R. Bates, S.A Parfitt, R.C. Preece, J.R Stewart, C. Turner and J.E. Whittaker


Archaeological excavations at Southfleet Road, Ebbsfleet, Kent have revealed a complex sequence of fossiliferous Middle Pleistocene sediments containing lithic artefacts. An incomplete skeleton of straight-tusked elephant Palaeoloxodon antiquus was found in lacustrine sediments in close association with a cluster of mint condition cores, flakes and notched flake-tools, some with evidence of use-damage. These finds appear to reflect in situ tool production and butchery of the elephant carcass. A far larger concentration of similar artefacts, again in mint condition, occurred nearby in the same horizon. These finds were overlain by a fluvial gravel containing abundant handaxes, some also in mint condition. A range of fossils, including pollen, molluscs and small vertebrates, indicates temperate conditions with local woodland coeval with the elephant butchery. The sediments appear to have formed during the early part of an interglacial, almost certainly MIS 11. As well as providing rare undisturbed evidence of human behaviour, the site supports existence of a distinctive non-handaxe Clactonian core/flake-tool industry in southeast England at this period

Topics: CC, QL, GB
Year: 2006
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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