Record Details

NHER Number:54222
Type of record:Monument
Name:Early human occupation evidence, 'Happisburgh Site 3'

Summary

A flint assemblage has been excavated from Early-Middle Pleistocene fluvial/estuarine sediments dating from 990-780,000 year ago. Faunal and floral remains indicate a mosaic environment consisting of conifer-dominated forest with deciduous elements, grassland, river-margin and esturine habitats. This site is the earliest existing record of Early Pleistocene hominin occupation of northern forests.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:Not displayed
Map Sheet:TG33SE
Parish:HAPPISBURGH, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

An assemblage of 78 flint artefacts with minimal abrasion has been excavated from Early-Middle Pleistocene fluvial/esturine sediments, originating from the upper esturine zone of the ancestral River Thames. Faunal and floral remains indicate a mosaic environment consisting of conifer-dominated forest with deciduous elements, grassland, river-margin (marsh, freshwater pools, reed-swamp, alder carrs) and esturine (salt marsh, coast) habitats. This may be compared with southern Scandinavia today, between the temperate and boreal vegetational zones. Environmental and paleomagnetic dating places the site 990-780,000 years ago, making this site the earliest record of Early Pleistocene hominin occupation of northern forests. This further informs on our understanding of early human subsistence capabilities when encountering novel and challenging environments. With a high level of organic preservation and accelerated erosion exposing new geological sections and Lower Paleolithic sites, the East Anglian coast is a key area for understanding this earliest period of hominin occupation in northern Europe, but remains vulnerable to erosion and sea-level rise.
See secondary file.
E. Whitcombe (NLA), 23 August 2010.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • OCCUPATION SITE (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • PALAEOCHANNEL (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)

Associated Finds

  • CORE (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • ESTUARINE DEPOSIT (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • FISH REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • FORAMINIFERA (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • INSECT REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • MAMMAL REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • MARINE MOLLUSCA REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • PLANT MACRO REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • POLLEN (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • SMALL MAMMAL REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Finds pre-date earliest life by 100,000 years.. 8 July.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2010. Finds alter our history: fossils point to early settlements.. 8 July.
---Publication: Pettitt, P. and White, M. 2012. The British Palaeolithic: Human Societies at the Edge of the Pleistocene World. pp 36-44.
<S1>Article in Serial: Parfitt, S. et al. 2010. Early Pleistocene human occupation at the edge of the boreal zone in northwest Europe. Nature. Vol 466 No 7303 pp 229-233.

Related records - none

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