Exploring Kent's Past

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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 67 SW 48
Type of record:Monument
Name:Baker's Hole Palaeolithic Site, Southfleet Pit, Swanscombe - Levalloisian flints and fossil animal remains

Summary

Baker's Hole Palaeolithic Site, Southfleet Pit, Swanscombe - Levalloisian flints and fossil animal remains recovered in c. 1910 from chalk-rich slopewash/solifluction deposits (Coombe rock)


Grid Reference:TQ 6142 7387
Map Sheet:TQ67SW
Parish:SWANSCOMBE AND GREENHITHE, DARTFORD, KENT

Monument Types

  • FLINT SCATTER (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • OPEN SITE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • OPEN SITE (Middle Palaeolithic - 150000 BC to 40001 BC)

Associated Finds

  • DEBITAGE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • HANDAXE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • LEVALLOIS CORE (Lower Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 150001 BC)
  • LEVALLOIS FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
  • RETOUCHED FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Middle Palaeolithic - 500000 BC to 40001 BC)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument KENT 267

Full description

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This is the location of Britain's main Levalloisian site, dating to c, 250,000 BP and attributable to late Lower or early Middle Palaeolithic. First properly investigated in 1910 by RA Smith (1) numerous Levallois flakes and cores were found, as well as other waste debitage and a range of mammalian fossils including mammoth, horse, rhino and deer. The artefacts came from a chalk-rich slopewash/solifluction deposit in the northwest angle of the north-south elongated chalk quarry known as Southfleet Pit by the quarry company Associated Portland Cement Company, and also sometimes as "New Barn Pit" (2, 3). The artefacts from the site are mostly held in the British Museum, although numerous other museums across the UK and also in Australia, USA and Canada have representative collections (4). Wenban-Smith (3), Wymer (5), Roe (6) and Bridgland (7) provide summaries of the site, and as pointed out by Wenban-Smith (3, 8) (a) the material includes a significant element of blade-like production similar to that practised at Crayford, as well as classic Levalloisian flakes and cores and (b) it also includes numerous handaxes whose condition is indistinguishable from the Levalloisian and blade components of the collection. The remnants of the site were mostly quarried away in the period 1950-1970, but a small segment was preserved under a conveyor belt within the quarry and reinvestigated in conjunction with construction of the High Speed 1 rail line between 1997 and 2003 (9, 10). This last phase of work discovered some remnant chalk-rich deposits probably broadly equivalent to those that produced RA Smith's original collection, and OSL dating was carried out that suggests the deposits date to MIS 7 or earlier, between c. 300,000 and 200,000 BP. The HS1 line then went through this last part of the site, although a final tiny remnant of the site survives buried under made ground on the west side of the line at TQ 61350 73900. The site is included in the SRPP (11) and was visited for the KTG MES (12).


<1> Smith RA,, 1911, A Palaeolithic Industry at Northfleet, Kent. (Article in serial). SKE32201.


<2> Wenban-Smith FF, 1990, The location of Baker's Hole. (Article in serial). SKE32291.


<3> Wenban-Smith F. F., 1995, The Ebbsfleet Valley, Northfleet (Baker's Hole) (Article in monograph). SKE17727.


<4> Wenban-Smith FF, et al.,, 2012, Prehistoric Ebbsfleet: Excavations and Research in Advance of High Speed 1 and STDR 4. (Monograph). SKE32262.


<5> Wymer, JJ, 1968, Lower Palaeolithic Archaeology in Britain as represented by the Thames Valley., pp354-356 (Monograph). SKE29697.


<6> Roe, D.A., 1981, The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Periods in Britain., pp80-82 (Monograph). SKE29687.


<7> Bridgland DR, 1994, Quaternary of the Thames., 262 (Monograph). SKE32233.


<8> Wenban-Smith FF,, 1992, Early Palaeolithic cultural facies and the Levalloisian at Baker's Hole. (Article in serial). SKE32289.


<9> Oxford Archaeology, 2003, Ebbsfleet Valley Detailed Mitigation Works, Northfleet, Kent: Interim Statement (Unpublished document). SKE12256.


<10> Wenban-Smith FF,, 2012, Chapter 9: Chalk spine (Zone 5). (Article in monograph). SKE32292.


<11> Wessex Archaeology, 1993, The Southern Rivers Palaeolithic Project, Report No.2: The South West and South of the Thames [Vol. I - text], NWK 5.5 (Monograph). SWX6569.


<12> Essex County Council & Kent County Council, 2003, Archaeological Survey of Mineral Extraction Sites around the Thames Estuary, KT 585 (Unpublished document). SKE12012.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>Article in serial: Smith RA,. 1911. A Palaeolithic Industry at Northfleet, Kent.. Archaeologia 62 (2): 515-532..
<2>Article in serial: Wenban-Smith FF. 1990. The location of Baker's Hole.. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 56: 11-14..
<3>Article in monograph: Wenban-Smith F. F.. 1995. The Ebbsfleet Valley, Northfleet (Baker's Hole).
<4>Monograph: Wenban-Smith FF, et al.,. 2012. Prehistoric Ebbsfleet: Excavations and Research in Advance of High Speed 1 and STDR 4..
<5>Monograph: Wymer, JJ. 1968. Lower Palaeolithic Archaeology in Britain as represented by the Thames Valley.. pp354-356.
<6>Monograph: Roe, D.A.. 1981. The Lower and Middle Palaeolithic Periods in Britain.. pp80-82.
<7>Monograph: Bridgland DR. 1994. Quaternary of the Thames.. 262.
<8>Article in serial: Wenban-Smith FF,. 1992. Early Palaeolithic cultural facies and the Levalloisian at Baker's Hole.. Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 3: 1-10..
<9>Unpublished document: Oxford Archaeology. 2003. Ebbsfleet Valley Detailed Mitigation Works, Northfleet, Kent: Interim Statement.
<10>Article in monograph: Wenban-Smith FF,. 2012. Chapter 9: Chalk spine (Zone 5)..
<11>Monograph: Wessex Archaeology. 1993. The Southern Rivers Palaeolithic Project, Report No.2: The South West and South of the Thames [Vol. I - text]. NWK 5.5.
<12>Unpublished document: Essex County Council & Kent County Council. 2003. Archaeological Survey of Mineral Extraction Sites around the Thames Estuary. KT 585.

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