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The British Lower Palaeolithic of the early Middle Pleistocene


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Hosfield, R. (2011) The British Lower Palaeolithic of the early Middle Pleistocene. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30 (11-12). pp. 1486-1510. ISSN 0277-3791

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.02.026


The archaeology of Britain during the early Middle Pleistocene (MIS 19–12) is represented by a number of key sites across eastern and southern England. These sites include Pakefield, Happisburgh 1, High Lodge, Warren Hill, Waverley Wood, Boxgrove, Kent's Cavern, and Westbury-sub-Mendip, alongside a ‘background scatter’ lithic record associated with the principal river systems (Bytham, pre-diversion Thames, and Solent) and raised beaches (Westbourne–Arundel). Hominin behaviour can be characterised in terms of: preferences for temperate or cool temperate climates and open/woodland mosaic habitats (indicated by mammalian fauna, mollusca, insects, and sediments); a biface-dominated material culture characterised by technological diversity, although with accompanying evidence for distinctive core and flake (Pakefield) and flake tool (High Lodge) assemblages; probable direct hunting-based subsistence strategies (with a focus upon large mammal fauna); and generally locally-focused spatial and landscape behaviours (principally indicated by raw material sources data), although with some evidence of dynamic, mobile and structured technological systems. The British data continues to support a ‘modified short chronology’ to the north of the Alps and the Pyrenees, with highly sporadic evidence for a hominin presence prior to 500–600 ka, although the ages of key assemblages are subject to ongoing debates regarding the chronology of the Bytham river terraces and the early Middle Pleistocene glaciations of East Anglia.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Archaeology
Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Scientific Archaeology
ID Code:20910

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