Cite this as: Roberts, L. and Hamel, A. (with contributions from A. Shaw, C. Mellett and E. McNeill) 2023 The Submerged Palaeo-Yare: a review of Pleistocene landscapes and environments in the southern North Sea, Internet Archaeology 61. https://doi.org/10.11141/ia.61.8
The southern North Sea preserves an internationally significant early Middle Palaeolithic finds assemblage that was discovered through aggregate dredging in marine aggregate Licence Area 240 off the coast of Norfolk. Area 240 is part of a regional block of licence areas that have been worked since the 1970s. Significant discoveries from the assemblage in 2007/2008 sparked further investigations. Through geophysical and geoarchaeological assessment the cultural material was found to be associated with a floodplain deposit of the now submerged Palaeo-Yare river system. The Palaeo-Yare catchment extended beyond Area 240 and was present in adjacent aggregate areas, which led to the development of a regional monitoring programme at aggregate wharves to manage and assimilate all new archaeological data. This was supported by a geological review of any new marine geophysical or geotechnical surveys to test hypotheses about context. This process has been ongoing for almost 20 years and here we present a review of all development-led (grey literature) works. The stratigraphic, chronological and landscape context of the important Palaeolithic finds from aggregate licence areas in the southern North Sea are considered in relation to taphonomy and patterns of inhabitation.
Corresponding author: Andrea Hamel
Figure 1: Aggregate Licence Areas in the Palaeo-Yare. Contains data © Wessex Archaeology, © Crown Copyright and database right 2023, and made with Natural Earth. Free vector and raster map data @naturalearthdata.com
Figure 2: Awareness Visit at Tarmac's Marchwood Wharf © Wessex Archaeology
Figure 3: Operational Sampling at Dagenham Wharf – archaeologists walking over gravel © Wessex Archaeology
Figure 4: Palaeo-Yare catchment, with sedimentary units and finds locations © Wessex Archaeology
Figure 5: Scale of dredging lanes and accuracy of trackplot, for archaeological material recovered from Area 240 in November 2019 © Wessex Archaeology
Figure 6: Handaxe from Area 240. This is a small cordate handaxe in relatively sharp condition that carries extensive traces of impact in the form of incipient points of percussion (Wessex Archaeology 2021) © Wessex Archaeology
Figure 8: Large mammoth tooth © Wessex Archaeology
Figure 9: Woolly rhinoceros scapula with evidence of hyena gnaw marks © Wessex Archaeology
Figure 10: Horse bone with evidence of hyena chew marks © Wessex Archaeology
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