Lesley Blundell

An Assessment of the Lower-Middle Palaeolithic Surface Artefact Scatters of the Chalk Uplands of Northwest Europe

Chalk is one of the most widespread sedimentary rocks in Europe, stretching from the coastlines of the North Sea to north central France and the chalk-lands of northwest Europe have been central to the development of Palaeolithic archaeology. Chalk is archaeologically significant because it contains flint, a durable siliceous rock which, over the past 1 million years, has been used more than any other rock-type for stone tool manufacture in Europe. The geomorphology of the surrounding land and geological deposits in which palaeoliths are found is crucially important. My research investigates the potential of that geological context to inform Middle Pleistocene archaeology. It proposes a model that predicts a relationship between archaeological survival and density of Clay-with-flints, a Quaternary residual deposit that outcrops widely on the Chalk uplands.

To test the model data has been drawn from three areas – the Chilterns, North and South Downs of southern Britain – and my results will be tested against data from the Somme uplands of Northwest France. Research questions addressed will include how and on what scale geomorphological changes have occurred on the Chalk uplands, whether those changes differed between different upland areas and what effect they have had on their archaeology. I will also be considering whether high ground artefact scatters show any uniformity in respect of their geological relationships, whether the same relationship patterns are seen in north-west France and whether the geological context of surviving archaeology can be used to predict the location of other sites. 

Supervisors

 Educational background

  • BA (External)Medieval and modern history London University 1979
  • MSc Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, UCL 2010

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