Record Details

NHER Number:21499
Type of record:Find Spot
Name:Lower/Middle Palaeolithic worked flints and Late Upper Palaeolithic long blade industry, Lynford Hall Pit

Summary

This large gravel pit produced a significant number of Palaeolithic flints when it was worked during the 1980s and 1990s. Although no formal archaeological work took place, the quarry and its reject heaps were examined on many occasions by a number of individuals. The finds recovered included up to 20 handaxes, many flakes (including some handaxe thinning flakes) and one retouched flake. Two pieces showed possible evidence for Levallois technique, suggesting that at least some of this material dates to the Middle Palaeolithic. Several of the handaxes are also of a form typically associated with Late Middle Palaeolithic Neanderthal populations. These handaxes are almost certainly related to a substantial Late Middle Palaeolithic assemblage that was recovered when a new quarry pit was opened to the east of this site in 2001 (see NHER 37095). This assemblage is of national significance as it was found within the organic fills of a palaeochannel, in close association with the remains of woolly mammoths and several other large mammals. The remainder of the Lower-Middle Palaeolithic assemblage from this site was however most likely derived from the Wissey gravels and associated to one or more earlier phases of activity (and therefore probably contemporary with a small assemblage of residual, rolled material recovered during the excavation of the palaeochannel).

Over 100 Late Upper Palaeolithic flints were also recovered from this quarry, these being found when silty Late Glacial deposits were disturbed at the northern edge of the quarry, close to the river. A single fragment of Iron Age pottery was also found in this part of the site.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 819 946
Map Sheet:TL89SW
Parish:LYNFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

A large former gravel pit located on the flood plain terrace on the south bank of the River Wissey. This pit, which was worked during the 1980s and 1990s, produced a significant number of Lower/Middle Palaeolithic and Upper Palaeolithic finds. This pit is adjacent to the site where a nationally significant Late Middle Palaeolithic site was excavated in 2002 (NHER 37095).

The eastern pit was the first to be worked (centred TL 821 947), with extraction in this area ceasing in 1985. The much larger pit to the west was worked between 1985 and 1997, after which operations halted for several years. In around 2000 a new pit was opened to the east of the first - archaeological discoveries made during this final phase of extraction are reported separately under NHER 37095, NHER 35165, NHER 37410, NHER 40957 and NHER 58790.

1982. Stray Find.
Found on stone heap during visit by P. Harding in 1982:
1 Middle Palaeolithic sharp cordate handaxe.
According to (S1) the manager of the quarry reported the discovery of part of mammoth tusk and "…a few other bones…" around this time.
Identified by J.J. Wymer (NAU), see description and copy of drawing (S1) in file. These discoveries are also noted on (S28).
The handaxe is of a form (Wymer Type N) typically associated with Late Middle Palaeolithic Neanderthal activity. It was subsequently listed as potentially Middle Palaeolithic in (S29), although it was not accepted as a true bout coupé.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

1984. Field Observation.
During this year the quarry and its reject heaps were examined on several occasions, with a number of Palaeolithic objects recovered by various individuals. These finds included:
5 handaxes, 3 of which can be classified as Mousterian of Acheulian Tradition, being of flat-butted cordate/bout coupé form (and therefore potentially associated with Late Middle Palaeolithic). Although the handaxes are classified as rolled, the rolling is very uneven and a considerable part of all the handaxes could be classified as just slightly rolled. All have recent edge damage. See copies of drawings (S3) (S4)/(S14), (S5) and (S6).
16 primary flakes, including 1 apparently from handaxe manufacture.
1 retouched primary flake.
1 large handaxe roughout.
Horse and mammoth remains also recovered.
The majority of this finds were recovered from the reject heaps, although two of the handaxes were extracted from an excavator bucket when the machine was working below the water table. This material was coming from gravel on the low flood plain terrace of the Wissey; presumed to be of Devensian date. It appears that the majority of these objects remain in private collections.
Identified by J.J. Wymer (NAU), see file for detailed finds lists and handaxe record sheets (the majority of which include detailed drawings). The potentially Middle Palaeolithic handaxes are amongst those listed in (S29) and are described as approaching bout coupé form. The site is also listed as having produced potentially Middle Palaeolithic handaxes in (S30).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

1984. Stray Find.
Found by operator of mechanical digger c. 1984 (pit was being dug around TL 821 946 at this time):
1 Palaeolithic slightly rolled handaxe. Donated to Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1989.46). See sketch (S7) and copy of drawing by J. J. Wymer (S8).
This find was not reported until 1987, and the NAU was not informed by NCM until 1989.
W. Milligan (NCM), 13 October 1987. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

Various dates, 1985. Field Observation.
Several site visits made by various individuals in order to examine workings and search reject heaps. According to (S9) J. J. Wymer visited the pit on numerous occasions in this year and finds are also known to have been recovered by E. R. Shephard-Thorn, J. Lord, R. J MacRae and P. Harding.
The finds recovered are listed as including:
1 handaxe. Found by J. Lord. See copy of drawing (S10).
1 handaxe roughout. Found by E. R. Shephard-Thorn. Now in the NCM (NWHCM : 1985.386 : A). See copy of sketch (S11) and description in file.
1 mammoth tooth. Found by P. Harding. Given to the NCM (NWHCM : 1985.426 : G).
6 flakes (one a finishing flake).
1 bifacially worked scraper.
1 large irregular but successfully struck Levallois core.
The Levallois core and majority of the flakes were collected by J. J. Wymer and were also donated to the NCM (NWHCM : 1985.386).
J.J. Wymer (NAU), 28 November 1985.

It is noted in (S9) that J. Lord had found "…a few handaxes"; which Wymer recorded. This is presumably a reference to both the 1984 and 1985 discoveries. A short article published by Lord in 2004 (S18) provides a few additional details on the discoveries that he and others had made in the first Lynford Hall pit prior to its closure in 1985. Lord states that this pit "…yielded over fifty flint artefacts, including seven handaxes and seven flake cores". Several of the earlier drawings are reproduced, along with drawings of a handaxe (Fig 2) and a flake core (Fig 8) that are not amongst the finds listed above. The core was drawn by J. J. Wymer (S21) and recorded as a rolled "Kombewa type" (named after several workshop sites in Kenya). The Wymer Archive (British Museum) was also found to contain sketches of three other flint cores that had been found at Lynford by J. Lord, almost certainly at this pit (S22) (S23). Two are noted as being Kombewa cores.

High quality flint appears to have been selected for the Lynford artefacts, the appearance of which is similar to the Brandon Series flint seen at Grimes Graves. It is noted in (S18) that in 1984 the British Museum conducted atomic absorption spectropometric analysis of 13 artefacts from Lynford Quarry. This study suggested that the chemical composition of the flint is that of the Brandon Series flint.
Noted in (S18) and, according to (S26), also described in (S27).

According to (S18) the faunal samples recovered at this pit included "…mammoth, woolly rhino and reindeer, but most of these fell into the hands of private collectors". It is noted that the no arefacts were found in the pit subsequently opened to the west. It is however clear from Wymer's records (see below) that small numbers of artefacts continued to be found on the quarry's reject heaps.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013 and 11 September 2015.

July 1985-April 1992. Field Observation.
Discovered close to the River Wissey, at north end of first pit (Context 2 at [2]) during examination of artificial channel dug to transfer water from new extraction area:
Later Upper Palaeolithic flints. Long blade debitage first noted by J. J. Wymer in July 1985 and subsequently collected by others over the course of regular subsequent visits. Many of these finds were found in upcast from mechanical digging of a wide drainage channel that cut through silts, peats, gravel and chalk sludge (tentatively interpreted as Late Glacial sediments). Some were found scattered on the much disturbed surface over an area of approximately 30m x 5m. Difficult to assess original level of surface and stratigraphy of underlying deposits but cleaning of the channel side showed peaty soil above sandy gravel at one point and above silty sand resting against very chalky ?boulder clay at another. The silty sand c. 1.5m below level left by machine must have corresponded approximately to the original ground level. This deposit was briefly examined on 3 August 1985, when the water table was lowered, and yielded a number of flints (possibly Context 3 at [3], see below), suggesting that some if not all of the material was in a stratified context. See Wymer's notes in file.

These discoveries were first reported in (S12) and the Upper Palaeolithic material from the site was subsequently donated to the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1985.386). The assemblage is discussed in (S13), in which a number of the pieces are illustrated. See copy of original illustrations held by HES (S25). One blade and a one of the cores are also described in R. Jacobi's records (S19). According to (S13) the assemblage from Context 2 comprises 111 flints, these listed as follows:
2 burins.
3 scrapers.
1 backed piece.
2 bruised pieces.
3 blade cores.
27 blades/blade segments.
73 flakes/flake fragments.
These quantifications are virtually the same as those given in Wymer's notes. It does however appear that these are not the only flints recovered. The Wymer Archive (British Museum) contains a lists compiled by P. Robins (NCM) in 2003. This list many more flints, including a significant number of artefacts that are recorded as being from Context 4 (the location of which appear to have not been known). It is also clear that potentially Upper Palaeolithic flints were being recovered at the site as late as 1992.
The flints listed by P. Robins are as follows:
10 blade cores (4 from Context 2, 5 from Context 4 and 1 with no context listed).
3 irregular cores (Context 2).
6 core trimmings (Context 2).
1 retouched core tablet (Context 2).
15 crested flakes (Context 4).
117 blades and blade segments/fragments (57 from Context 2, 60 from Context 4).
261 flakes and flake fragments (156 from Context 2, 3 from Context 3, 99 from Context 4 and 3 with no context recorded).
89 spalls (6 from Context 2, 3 from Context 3, 77 from Context 4 and 3 with no context recorded).
3 shatter pieces (1 from Context 2 and 2 from Context 4).
3 retouched flakes (Context 2).
Presumably it is possible that the Context 4 flints were not seen as related to the material from Context 2. It is however unclear at present why so much of the material from Context 2 is not listed in (S13).
See copy of list and related correspondence in file.
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

2 August 1985. Stray Find.
On ground disturbed by machines on edge of pit by river (also Context 2):
1 ?Iron Age pottery sherd (body sherd, coarse and sandy, probably Iron Age). Possibly associated with nearby pot boiler site, now mainly dug away.
J.J. Wymer (NAU), 9 December 1985. Information from (S31).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

12 June 1986. Field Observation.
On dumps of large flint rejects:
5 Palaeolithic flint flakes. All rolled or stained to varying degrees and with some recent damage from passing through screenage plant.
J.J. Wymer (NAU), 12 June 1986. Information from (S31).
Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

27 December 1993. Field Observation.
Reject heap searched by J. J. Wymer and E. R. Shephard-Thorn:
2 Palaeolithic flint primary flakes found and 1 long blade-like flake (?Levallois ).
Information from (S9). These finds were previously part of Wymer's personal collection (W4370-W4372), which is now held by Royal Holloway College. A note in (S9) does however suggests that the ?Levallois flake was given to the NCM in 1994.
P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

18 February 1994. Field Observation.
Reject heaps searched by J. J. Wymer but no artefacts found. Recovered from bund around new south-west extension to quarry (TL 817 944):
3 Palaeolithic flint flakes, all rolled.
See notes and sketch plan in (S9). These finds were previously part of Wymer's personal collection (W4373-W4375), which is now held by Royal Holloway College.
P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

2 April 1994. Field Observation.
Reject heaps searched by J. J. Wymer:
2 Palaeolithic flint flakes found.
South-west extension also examined but no finds were found in the sandy gravel exposed.
Information from (S9). The flakes were previously part of Wymer's personal collection (W4377-W4378), which is now held by Royal Holloway College.
P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

13 August 1994. Field Observation.
Pit now under new management. Examination of reject heaps by J. J. Wymer, R. J. MacRae and T. Hardaker:
2 Palaeolithic large flint flakes and 1 thinning flake found.
Information from (S9). The flakes were previously part of Wymer's personal collection (W4380-W4382), which is now held by Royal Holloway College.
P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

18 May 1996. Field Observation.
Reject heaps searched by J. J. Wymer and E. R. Shepard-Thorn. Not a single artefact apart from a very large, wide-platformed bulbous flake in sharp condition (not retained). Unusually, two large mineralised bones near each other on the heap (rhino and ?elephant). These bones were given to the NCM, although it was subsequently learnt that the gravel examined had been imported from Shropham - presumably these bones with it.
Information from (S9).
P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

July 1996. Field Observation.
Found by R. J. MacRae:
1 Palaeolithic flint 'Kombera' type core. See sketch by J. J. Wymer (S24).
P. Watkins (HES), 12 September 2014.

The various Lower-Middle Palaeolithic finds from this pit are also noted in (S15) and (S16). As noted above, the flat-butted cordate handaxes found between 1982 and 1985 are also listed in (S17).

See file for report and letter from R. J. MacRae (S20), both sent to Ayton Aggregates around the time that the eastern extension to this quarry was first proposed. According to MacRae John Lord recovered at least 45 flint implements from this pit over 20 years, which would appear to tally with the total given in (S18). It should however be noted that (S16) lists 20 handaxes as having been found at this site, which is significantly more than the number described in the other available sources.
P. Watkins (HES), 16 May 2013.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 1000000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • FINDSPOT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Lower Palaeolithic to Upper Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • AXE TRIMMING FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • AXE TRIMMING FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • AXE TRIMMING FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • CORE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • CORE (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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • ROUGHOUT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • ROUGHOUT (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC)
  • LEVALLOIS CORE (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • LEVALLOIS FLAKE? (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC? to 40001 BC?)
  • BACKED BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • BLADE CORE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • BLADE CORE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • BURIN (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • CORE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • CORE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • CRESTED BLADE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • DEBITAGE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • DEBITAGE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • END SCRAPER (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • FLAKE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC? to 10001 BC?)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Upper Palaeolithic - 40000 BC to 10001 BC)
  • POT (Iron Age - 800 BC to 42 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
<S1>Illustration: Harding, P. 1982. Drawing of a potentially Middle Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Paper. 1:1.
<S2>Publication: Wymer, J. J. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. p 53.
<S3>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Drawing of a Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Card. 1:1.
<S4>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Drawing of a potentially Middle Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Card. 1:1.
<S5>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Drawing of a potentially Middle Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Card. 1:1.
<S6>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Drawing of a potentially Middle Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Card. 1:1.
<S7>Illustration: [Unknown]. 1984. Sketch of a Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Paper. 1:1.
<S8>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Drawing of a Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Card. 1:1.
<S9>Unpublished Document: Wymer, J. J. Journal. No 7. pp 157, 164, 198-200, 206, 218a-219.
<S10>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Sketch of a Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Paper. 1:1.
<S11>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Sketch of a Palaeolithic flint handaxe roughout from Lynford Hall pit. Paper. 1:1.
<S12>Article in Serial: 1986. Archaeological Discoveries for 1985. CBA Group VI Bulletin. No 31 pp 53-89. p 79.
<S13>Article in Serial: Robins, P. and Wymer, J. 2006. Late Upper Palaeolithic (Long Blade) Industries in Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt I pp 86-95. pp 88, 91; Fig 2.
<S14>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. 1982. Drawing of a potentially Middle Palaeolithic flint handaxe from Lynford Hall pit. Card. 1:1.
<S15>Unpublished Contractor Report: 1996. The English Rivers Palaeolithic Project. Regions 9 (Great Ouse) and 12 (Yorkshire and the Lincolnshire Wolds). Wessex Archaeology. LLO-3, No.18.
<S16>Website: TERPS online database. Site 22804.
<S17>Monograph: Tyldesley, J. A. 1987. The bout coupé Handaxe: a typological problem. British Archaeological Report. No 170.
<S18>Article in Serial: Lord, J. 2004. A flint knapper's foreward to Lynford. Lithics: Newsletter of the Lithic Studies Society. No 23 pp 60-70.
<S19>Archive: R. Jacobi. -. Jacobi Archive. 219; 6944.
<S20>Unpublished Document: MacRae, R.J.. 1997. Report re Proposed extension of Lynford Gravel Pit, Mundford, Norfolk. 15 May.
<S21>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. Drawing of a Palaeolithic flint 'Kombewa' core from Lynford Hall pit. Card. 1:1.
<S22>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. Sketches of two Palaeolithic flint cores from Lynford Hall pit. Paper. 1:1.
<S23>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. Sketch of a Palaeolithic flint 'Kombewa' core from Lynford Hall pit. Paper. 1:1.
<S24>Illustration: Wymer, J. J. Sketches of two Palaeolithic flint 'Kombewa' cores from Lynford. Paper. 1:1.
<S25>Illustration: ?1985. Drawings of Late Upper Palaeolithic flint blades, burin, retouch flake, end scraper and blade cores from Lynford Hall pit.
<S26>Publication: Boismier, W. A., Gamble, C. and Coward, F. (eds). 2012. Neanderthals Among Mammoths. Excavations at Lynford Quarry, Norfolk. p 227.
<S27>Unpublished Document: Lord, J. Report on the examination of some worked flint from Lynford, Norfolk.
<S28>Record Card: Wymer, J. J. Wymer Index Card - Palaeolithic. Lynford.
<S29>Monograph: Tyldesley, J. A. 1987. The bout coupé Handaxe: a typological problem. British Archaeological Report. No 170. p 37.
<S30>Publication: Pettitt, P. and White, M. 2012. The British Palaeolithic: Human Societies at the Edge of the Pleistocene World. p 328.
<S31>Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.

Related records - none

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2021 Norfolk Historic Environment Service