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No.55 July 2002

Monthly Newsletter

Neanderthals in Norfolk


An excavation at a quarry in Norfolk, funded by English Heritage, has revealed 50,000 year old flint tools and mammoth remains from what could prove to be the best-preserved open-air Neanderthal butchery site ever discovered in Britain. According to the EH press release, the finds are set to provide crucial and extremely rare information about a little understood period of mankind's history during the last Ice Age. The excavation is the most complete ever to be undertaken using modern archaeological methods and holds out the enticing prospect of answering some of the puzzles surrounding our often derided cousins, Homo Neanderthalensis. Eight skilfully-worked hand axes, together with enormous teeth, two metre long tusks and parts of the skeletons from three (or possibly four) mammoths, teeth from a woolly rhino plus a reindeer antler, are among the Ice Age remains which first came to light during gravel extraction at the quarry earlier this year. The site is thought to have once been a series of ponds used as a watering place by both Neanderthals and animals.

More Resistivity

Our brave band of prospectors set out once again into the field last month to see if we could establish a clearer picture of the Roman Road at Brimlow Farm. By the end of the afternoon we managed to complete two more grid squares and thus extend the survey area to 50 by 36 metres. By merging these reading with the previous month’s, a pattern is now emerging which may hopefully indicate the position of the road. A dark (although faint) band, 10 metres wide, crosses the section roughly at the point where we suspect the road to be. When the farmer eventually removes the turf from this area later in the year, we may have an opportunity to prove the case once and for all.
We are now getting quite proficient with our new machine, which is excellent to use. It not only warns you of a bad contact, it also warns when enough time hasn’t been given for a reading to be taken. Signals are also given when a row is finished and also when a whole grid section has been completed. Consistency of readings, even over a number of weeks, means that grid sections match up almost exactly. Downloading the data into the computer is also very easy and the software, although simple, displays the results in enough detail for our purposes. All in all it is a fine piece of equipment.

Summer Trip

Tom Glover has been busily arranging details for our trip to Kirkby Lonsdale. You may be wondering what there is to see there but Tom has arranged for local archaeologist William Roy, to give us a guided tour and the itinerary is impressive. Starting with the Pre-historic and going through the Roman and Medieval periods, William has selected a number of sites to visit covering an area of over 30 miles between Bentham and Kirkby. These include a hill fort, a Roman fort and fortlet, and possibly the Roman town of Calicum (depending on the permission of the farmer). In Kirby Tom has arranged for a local historian to take us round the town and explain some of its history. The date for the trip has been provisionally set for Sunday 18th August and will cost around 10 (depending on numbers). If you are interested please fill in the form and return it ASAP to one of the committee members.

Next Meeting

Wednesday 3rd July at the BP Centre (Scout HQ) in Greenough Street, at 7.30 pm as usual. This month’s speaker is our regular favourite John Johnson, secretary of the Horus Egypotology Society, who will be giving us another of his excellent talks, this time on early travellers and explorers in Egypt. By the way, the Horus Society will be meeting on Thursday 29th July. Dr Penny Wilson from Liverpool University will be talking on the Armana period (Akenaten). If you wish to go, please contact John at the meeting or phone 01942 741954.

GCSE Egyptology

Starting this summer at Edmond Arrowsmith School, John Johnson will be running a new course in ‘O’ Level Egyptology. John has gained the accreditation to do the course, which is a national first, with the help of Joanne Fletcher from Manchester University. There are two evening courses planned to run over three terms. Again John has further details.
Hope to see you at the meeting, B.A.