Mammoths and Neanderthals in the Thames Valley

; Christine Buckingham

Today the Upper Thames Valley is a region of green pastures and well-managed farmland, interspersed with pretty villages and intersected by a meandering river.



The discovery in 1989 of a mammoth tusk in river gravels at Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, revealed the very different ancient past of this landscape. Les mer
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Om boka

Today the Upper Thames Valley is a region of green pastures and well-managed farmland, interspersed with pretty villages and intersected by a meandering river.



The discovery in 1989 of a mammoth tusk in river gravels at Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, revealed the very different ancient past of this landscape. Here, some 200,000 years ago, mammoths, straight-tusked elephants, lions, and other animals roamed across grasslands with scattered trees, occasionally disturbed by small bands of Neanderthals.



The pit where the tusk was discovered, destined to become a waste disposal site, provided a rare opportunity to conduct intensive excavations that extended over a period of 10 years. This work resulted in the recording and recovery of more than 1500 vertebrate fossils and an abundance of other biological material, including insects, molluscs, and plant remains, together with 36 stone artefacts attributable to Neanderthals. The well-preserved plant remains include leaves, nuts, twigs and large oak logs. Vertebrate remains notably include the most comprehensive known assemblage of a distinctive small form of the steppe mammoth, Mammuthus trogontherii, that is characteristic of an interglacial period equated with marine isotope stage 7 (MIS 7).



Richly illustrated throughout, Mammoths and Neanderthals in the Thames Valley offers a detailed account of all these finds and will be of interest to Quaternary specialists and students alike.

Fakta

Innholdsfortegnelse

List of Figures ;


List of Tables ;


Preface ;



Introduction ;


The excavations ;


Geological context of the Stanton Harcourt Channel ;



Evidence for the Contemporaneity of Bones, Wood, Molluscs and Artefacts ;


Stratigraphy and sedimentology ;


Bones assemblages at their death sites ;


The context of wood, fresh-water molluscs and other environmental material at the excavation site ;


The presence of hominins ;



Dating The Stanton Harcourt Channel Deposits ;


Absolute dating ;


Biostratigraphy ;



The Mammoths ;


The compostion of the mammoth assemblage ;


The sex of the Stanton Harcourt mammoths ;


Interpreting the mammoth remains: death, carcass dispersal and the effect of the river ;


Population structure of the Stanton Harcourt mammoth assemblage ;



Large Vertebrates other than Mammoths at Stanton Harcourt ;


The carnivores ;


The herbivores ;


Small vertebrates ;



The Climatic and Environmental Evidence ;


Wood and other vegetation as climatic indicators ;


Climatic interpretation of the molluscs ;


Large vertebrates as climatic indicators ;


The local environment - wood and other vegetation ;


Insects and the environment ;


Molluscs and the local environment ;


Vertebrates and the environment ;



The Artefacts ;


Descriptions of the artefacts ;


Artefacts from the wider context near Stanton Harcourt ;


The Stanton Harcourt artefacts and other British assemblages ;



Neanderthals in the Thames Valley ;



References

Om forfatteren

Katharine Scott is internationally recognised for her work on Middle and Upper Pleistocene vertebrate fossils. Her fieldwork at various Upper Thames Quaternary sites concentrated especially on the 10-year excavation of 200,000-year-old fossiliferous deposits at Stanton Harcourt near Oxford. This now comprises the largest collection of excavated mammoths in Britain. She is an Emeritus Fellow of St Cross College Oxford and an Honorary Associate of the Oxford University Museum. ;



Christine Buckingham was born and educated in Oxford. Between 1989 and 1999, Christine was co-director of the excavations at Stanton Harcourt with overall responsibility for recording the geology and stratigraphy and also carried out fieldwork at several other Upper Thames sites. Christine graduated with a DPhil from Oxford Brookes University (in collaboration with the Donald Baden-Powell Quaternary Research Centre, Oxford University) in 2004. She is an Honorary Associate of the Oxford University Museum.