Monument record LKH 036 - Maidscross Hill, (The Broom, The Old Churchyard), Lakenheath, (Palaeolithic)

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Major Lower Palaeolithic site.


Grid reference Centred TL 7263 8256 (310m by 234m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL78SW


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Mid 19th-mid 20th centuries: The present hummocky surface testifies to the digging of gravel in casual workings. The area is otherwise known as The Broom and is so referred by Flower (1869) who first recorded palaeoliths (handaxes) from here. Material from here is dispersed throughout various museums, (S1-S6).

2004: A three-day excavation was undertaken to establish the elevation of the Chalk surface, and the geometry, sedimentology and clastlithology of the overlying sediments in relation to the previous records of archaeology from the site. Work by Flower (1869) on the summit of the hill described Chalk at an elevation of about 27m O.D. with handaxes coming from the c.3m of overlying quartz and quartzite-rich gravel. Recent fieldwork by Rose (1987) and Lewis (1993) confirmed the Ethology of the gravel. Rose suggested that the gravel might have been deposited by the pre-Anglian Bytham River and Lewis suggested that the elevation of the gravels indicated that they might lie above the lowest terrace of that river system. However, neither was able to confirm the height of the Chalk surface beneath the gravel. They also showed that similar gravel lay at a lower elevation to the east and south-east of the summit. Four test-pits and two sections were cut by JCB. Three of the test-pits were on the summit, of which one was in disturbed sediments, and the other two consisted of sand and gravel, 26-30m O.D.

The Chalk bedrock was not encountered in any of these test pits. The fourth test-pit just below the summit demonstrated 3m of sand and gravel, overlying c.1m of probably non-glaciogenic chalky diamicton on disturbed Chalk at the base at 21m O.D. Two sectionswere cut in a disused quarry towards the bottom of the hill, south-eastfrom the summit.Here disturbed Chalk at c.10mO.D.was overlain by 3m of laminateds and sand silts and 4m of cross-bedded coarse,chalky gravel. Samples were taken for clast lithology, micromorphology and micropalaeontology. No archaeology was recovered. The work so far is inconclusive,as it is not clear whether two separate terraces have been encountered,or whether the graveland other sedimentsare restingon a Chalk slope. Borehole working the future should resolve this issue. Work is also planned at other archaeological sites in the area that are reported as comingfrom similar high-level gravel locations, (S7).

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Wymer, J.J.. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Evans, J.. 1897. The Ancient Stone implements, weapons and ornaments of Great Britain.
  • <S3> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL78SW7.
  • <S4> Bibliographic reference: Roe, Derek.. 1968. A Gazetteer of British Lower & Middle Palaeolithic sites.
  • <S5> Cartographic materials: Ordnance Survey. 1980. OS, 1:10,000 map, TL 78 SW. OS, 1:10,000 map, TL 78 SW, 1980.
  • <S6> Digital archive: Wymer, J.J.. 1999. The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain (TERPs) The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain (TERPS). 23037.
  • <S7> Article in serial: Martin, E.A., Pendleton, C. & Plouviez, J.. 2005. Archaeology in Suffolk 2004. XXXXI (1).
  • <S8> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <S9> Article in serial: Ashton, N. Davis, R. Kirsty E.H. Penkmane, G. Russell Coopef. 2021. Cultural Mosaics, Social Structure, and Identity: The Acheulean threshold in Europe.
  • <S10> Article in serial: Davis et al. 2021. Palaeolithic archaeology of the Bytham River: Human Occupation of Britain during the Early Middle Pleistocene and its European Context.

Finds (7)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (6)

Record last edited

Jun 22 2021 1:00PM

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