Neanderthals Among Mammoths

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In spring 2002 mammoth bones and associated Mousterian stone tools were found in situ at Lynford Quarry near Munford village Norfolk UK. The finds were within the organic sediments of a palaeochannel.Excavation was undertaken with support from Ayton Asphalte the quarry owners and English Heritage funded through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ASLF). These finds are a rare example of British Middle Palaeolithic tools associated with the Neanderthal occupation of what was then a peninsula of north-west Europe. The excavation recovered exceptionally well-preserved archaeological and palaeoenvironmental information. The association of woolly mammoth bones with bout- coupé hand axes (bifaces) and this wealth of palaeoenvironmental data provided a unique opportunity to investigate questions of diet land use and habitat from deposits within a small geological feature. The palaeoenvironmental evidence and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating show that the site was occupied c 65–57ka at the transition between Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 4 and 3. The plant and invertebrate remains indicate open conditions dominated by grasses sedges and low-growing herbaceous communities with small stands of birch or scrub and areas of acid heath or bog and a mild climate.Finds included 1365 identified bones of which 91 per cent are woolly mammoth; and 2720 lithic pieces including 41 complete and 6 broken hand-axes and 20 flake tools. In addition an associated sandstone block bears use traces made by a softer material possibly wood and was possibly used as a fire striker.The Lynford finds give a rare opportunity to study the socio-ecology of Neanderthals and the relationship between their social structure and the distribution of resources in the landscape during the last cold stage of Ice Age Europe.Key Features:549 pagesHardbackPublished in 2012