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A Reappraisal of the Clacton Spearpoint

  • Kenneth P. Oakley (a1), Peter Andrews (a1), Lawrence H. Keeley (a2) and J. Desmond Clark (a3)

The wooden artifact widely known as the Clacton Spear (pl. 1) was discovered by Samuel Hazzledine Warren, F.G.S., in 1911. He dug it out of an undisturbed part of the freshwater sediments, probably a peaty seam, exposed on the foreshore at Clacton-on-Sea, c. 80 km ENE of London (Warren 1911; 1914, and in conversation with K.P.O. 1933). On 30th September 1911, Warren conducted a party of members of the Essex Field Club on a visit to see the outcrop of Pleistocene fluviatile deposits on the shore west of Clacton Pier, and in the brief report on this excursion, reference was made to the occurrence of fossil mammalia and Palaeolithic flint artifacts. At first Henri Breuil tentatively identified the worked flints with the Mesvinian industry of Belgium; but after Warren's amassment of a larger collection, he recognized that the Clacton flint artifacts represented a distinct Palaeolithic industry, or tradition, for which he proposed the name Clactonian (see Warren 1922 and 1926; Breuil 1932).

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O. Fisher , 1868. ‘A few notes on Clacton, Essex’, Geol. Mag., 5, 214.

A. J. B. Humphreys , 1975. ‘Eye-witness accounts of hunter-gatherer activity in the Kaap Escarpment–Vaal River area, Northern Cape’, African Studies, 34 (1), 1937.

H. L. Movius , 1950. ‘A wooden spear of Third Interglacial Age from Lower Saxony’, South Western Journal of Anthropology, 6 (2), 139–42.

Mark H. Newcomer , 1974. ‘Study and replication of bone tools from Ksar Akil (Lebanon)’, World Archaeology, 6, 138–53.

K. Pike and H. Godwin , 1953. ‘The Interglacial of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex’, Q. Jl. Geol. Soc. Lond., 108, 261–72.

C. Turner , 1970. ‘The Middle Pleistocene deposits at Marks Tey, Essex’, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B., 257, 373440.

J. J. Wymer , 1974. ‘Clactonian and Acheulian Industries in Britain—Their Chronology and Significance’, Proc. Geol. Assoc., 85, pt. 3, 391421.

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Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society
  • ISSN: 0079-497X
  • EISSN: 2050-2729
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-prehistoric-society
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