A summary of the excavations and analysis from the internationally important Late Upper Palaeolithic site of Farndon Fields has been published in the latest edition of the Prehistoric Society newsletter, PAST. The article is written by Dr Michael Grant, COARS, and Phil Harding, Wessex Archaeology and Channel 4’s Time Team.
Recent excavations, as part of the A46 Newark to Widmerpool road improvement scheme in Nottinghamshire, revealed a rare Late Upper Palaeolithic open air site within which two distinct flint scatters were excavated. The earlier of these industries comprised 167 patinated artefacts, in mint condition, diagnostically belonging to a British derivative (Creswellian) of the European Final Magdalenian culture. This Creswellian scatter was similar to scatters produced experimentally suggesting that it represents the rare survival of an ephemeral in situ knapping episode, worked by one highly skilled person seated on or close to the ground, and so documents a single, relatively uninterrupted, moment in time.
A stratigraphically later, more diffuse, scatter of unpatinated artefacts from a blade industry, in contrast with the Creswellian material, whose attributes suggest that this industry was also of Late Upper Palaeolithic date but of Federmesser type. The relationship of artefacts and microdebitage suggested a number of discrete areas of occupation activity, around what appear to have been hearths.
The context of these finds, identified through extensive geoarchaeological investigations, was revealed to have occurred along low-lying wetland margins and areas of elevated gravel adjacent to river channels. Soil micromorphology undertaken within the Creswellian scatter suggests that knapping would probably have taken place at this location during the summer months.