Record Details

NHER Number:6461
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Unprovenanced potentially Palaeolithic worked flints, Overstrand foreshore (Overstrand, poorly located)

Summary

During the early 20th century a number of potentially Palaeolithic worked flints were recovered from the foreshore and coastal cliffs at Overstrand. Although many of these finds were published around the time of their discovery their exact provenance is not known. As with many of the supposedly Palaeolithic objects reported around this time, it is likely that only a proportion would now be considered genuine artefacts.

Images - none

Location

Parish:OVERSTRAND, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

During the early 20th century a number of potentially Palaeolithic worked flints were recovered from the foreshore and coastal cliffs at Overstrand. Although many of these finds were published around the time of their discovery their exact provenance is not known. As with many of the supposedly Palaeolithic objects reported around this time, it is likely that only a proportion would now be considered genuine artefacts.

RECORDED DISCOVERIES

12 January 1911. Stray Find.
Examination of the foreshore at Overstrand by W. L. H. Duckworth. The Cromer Forest Bed deposits exposed at the base of the cliffs appeared as a "series of patches of blue laminated clay", one of which produced "…a metatarsal bone of a hippopotamus" (S1). On or around this date Duckworth also recovered a potentially worked flint from "…the Forest-bed on the foreshore near Overstrand". This object is described and illustrated in (S1). Also noted on (S11).

1926. Stray Find.
Piece of heavily mineralised bone found on the beach at Overstrand by J. E. Sainty. This object is figured in (S2), in which it is described as a large heavily mineralised bone implement which Reid Moir believed it to have been intentionally produced. It was identified as a fossilised whale bone and thought to be derived from the earliest Cromer Forest Bed deposit.
It is doubtful whether this should still be regarded as a genuine artefact.
Previously recorded as NHER 6463.

Pre 1928. Stray Find.
Palaeolithic flint "handaxe" found by J. E. Sainty. This object is described and illustrated in (S3), in which it is recorded as having been found "…in the talus of the Lower Till at Overstrand, and in close proximity to the spot where he found a Late Chellean hand-axe in situ in this deposit". The other handaxe mentioned is one found in the neighbouring parish of Sidestrand (NHER 6773). The Overstrand handaxe is described as slight abraded, with a "black-leaded appearance" similar to that of flints recovered from the “Upper Freshwater Bed”; suggesting that it was derived from this deposit. This object is probably the "second cruder example" from the Sidestrand area that is mentioned in (S4). This object does not appear to be mentioned by any subsequent sources, possibly indicating it is no longer viewed as a genuine artefact.

Possibly one of three "chipped flints" held by the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1963.19; ex Ipswich Museum), this having been found by J. E. Sainty and marked "Beach ?Till. See below for further information on the objects held by the NCM.

FINDS IN MUSEUM COLLECTIONS

Roe (S5) lists 4 unprovenanced Palaeolithic objects from Overstrand:
1 handaxe.
2 retouched flakes/flake implements.
1 unretouched flake.
These are recorded as being held by the Norwich Castle Museum and the British Museum. The finds listed by Roe are also noted in (S9) and (S10), although no additional information is given.

British Museum:
Wymer (S6) mentions only one find in the British Museum; a very rolled flake in the Sturge Collection. The British Museum’s current records list only one object from Overstrand – a flake acquired from S. H. Warren (2011,8114.393). It is unclear whether these are one and the same, although it seems likely.

Norwich Castle Museum:
The handaxe listed by Roe is held by the NCM and was found by J. E. Sainty - the provenance of this object is actually known and it is recorded separately as NHER 6462.

Given how little the British Museum holds from Overstrand it is likely that the other objects listed by Roe are also held by the NCM. According to (S7) and the NCM’s records the museum holds a flake and a scraper with the same accession number as Sainty’s handaxe. Only the flake is mentioned by Wymer, described as a blade-like flake, only slightly rolled, marked “beach – from gravel”.

The NCM also holds a small collection of three potentially Palaeolithic flints from Overstrand that were transferred from the Ipswich Museum in 1963. According to (S8) one is marked "Beach - ?Till" and had been found by Sainty. The other two are marked "Cromer Forest Bed, Overstrand" – these are probably finds recovered by either J. E. Sainty or J. Reid Moir.
These finds were previously recorded as NHER 6460.

Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 26 June 2014.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • FINDSPOT (Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC? to 10001 BC?)

Associated Finds

  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • FLAKE? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • HANDAXE? (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL)? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • WORKED OBJECT? (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • WORKED OBJECT? (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • WORKED OBJECT? (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC? to 10001 BC?)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card. NHERs 6461 and 6463.
<S1>Article in Serial: Duckworth, W. L. H. 1911. Notes on the Cromer Forest Bed. Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiqarian Society. Vol XV (New Series Vol IX) pp 156-165.
<S2>Publication: Moir, J. Reid. 1927. The Antiquity of Man in East Anglia. pp 49-50.
<S3>Article in Serial: Moir, J. Reid. 1928. Further Researches in the Forest Bed of Cromer, Norfolk. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol V Pt III (for 1927) pp 273-282.
<S4>Article in Monograph: Sainty, J. E. 1935. Norfolk Prehistory. Report of the Annual Meeting, 1935. Norwich, September 4-11. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Appendix pp 60-71. p 63.
<S5>Article in Serial: Roe, D. A. 1968. British Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Handaxe Groups. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Vol XXXIV pp 1-83. p 237.
<S6>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 29.
<S7>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Palaeolithic.
<S8>Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous Prehistoric.
<S9>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1997. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 8 (East Anglian Rivers) and 11 (Trent Drainage). Wessex Archaeology. CR-2, No.15.
<S10>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22508.
<S11>Record Card: Wymer, J. J. Wymer Index Card - Palaeolithic. Overstrand.

Related records - none

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