Institute of Archaeology


Beedings Palaeolithic Survey

The Early Upper Palaeolithic site of Beedings is situated in West Sussex on the edge of the Lower Greensand scarp 4km north east of Pulborough. It is currently the site of Beedings Castle, a monumental late 19th century house built for the physician John Harley.

During the construction of the house a series of fissures were revealed within the underlying Rock. These contained a unique stone tool assemblage consisting of some 2,300 pieces. Through the work of Roger Jacobi (The British Museum) it is now thought that these tools are part of a distinctive group of old stone-age (Palaeolithic) tools. It is probable that these tools date to in excess of 35,000 years ago; an age which suggests either an early colonisation date for Britain by anatomically modern humans or occupation by technologically advanced and late surviving Neanderthals.

Either scenario is exciting and of enormous significance for our understanding of the transition from Neanderthal to Modern Human populations in Northern Europe.

Related outputs

  • Pope, M.I. 2009. Early Upper Palaeolithic archaeology at Beedings, West Sussex: new contexts for Pleistocene archaeology. Archaeology International 9.
  • Pope M.I. 2008. Beedings: New work near Nutbourne, West Sussex. Past. 59.