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Hand-axes from beneath Glacial Till at Welton-le-Wold, Lincolnshire and the Distribution of Palaeoliths in Britain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2014

J. J. Wymer
Dept. of Anatomy, University of Chicago
A. Straw
Dept. of Geography, University of Exeter


It is so rare for Palaeolithic artifacts to be found unequivocably stratified beneath glacial till, that the recent report by Alabaster and Straw (1976) of such an occurrence in Lincolnshire warrants some comments. Three hand-axes (fig. 1) were found between 1969 and 1973 in the quarry of Stephen Toulson and Son Ltd at Welton-le-Wold (TF 282884, 5 km west of Louth). They were found in association with fragmentary faunal remains of elephant, deer, horse and possibly Irish Giant Deer (see appendix by Boylan, in Alabaster and Straw 1976). Both artifacts and fauna came from a narrow zone in the Upper Division of the Welton Gravels underlying some 13 m of glacial till. This Upper Division, comprising silts, sands and flint gravels, is considered to have been deposited by periglacial aeolian and niveofluvial processes, whereas the Lower Division contains more water-bedded sands. The conclusion of the investigators was that as the animals represented could not have lived under the severe environmental conditions that prevailed during the accumulation of this Upper Division of the gravel, they had presumably been derived from an earlier temperate, interglacial deposit. The relative concentration of animal remains, the finding of two conjoinable elephant molars and the fairly fresh state of the artifacts suggests that they had not travelled far before coming to rest in the gravel. No sediment was traced in the quarry area which could have been a likely source.

Research Article
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 1977

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