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Integrated chronological control on an archaeologically significant Pleistocene river terrace sequence: the Thames-Medway, eastern Essex, England

Briant, Rebecca M. and Kilfeather, A.A. and Parfitt, S. and Penkman, K.E.H. and Preece, R.C. and Roe, H.M. and Schwenninger, J.L. and Wenban-Smith, F.F. and Whittaker, J.E. (2012) Integrated chronological control on an archaeologically significant Pleistocene river terrace sequence: the Thames-Medway, eastern Essex, England. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 123 (1), pp. 87-108. ISSN 0016-7878.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2011.07.008

Abstract

Late Middle Pleistocene Thames-Medway deposits in eastern Essex comprise both large expanses of Palaeolithic artefact-bearing river sands/gravels and deep channels infilled with thick sequences of fossiliferous fine-grained estuarine sediments that yield valuable palaeoenvironmental information. Until recently, chronological control on these deposits was limited to terrace stratigraphy and limited amino-acid racemisation (AAR) determinations. Recent developments in both this and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating make them potentially powerful tools for improving the chronological control on such sequences. This paper reports new AAR analyses and initial OSL dating from the deposits in this region. These results will help with ongoing investigation of patterns of early human settlement. Using AAR, the attribution by previous workers of the interglacial channel deposits to both MIS 11 (Tillingham Clay) and MIS 9 (Rochford and Shoeburyness Clays) is reinforced. Where there are direct stratigraphic relationships between AAR and OSL as with the Cudmore Grove and Rochford Clays and associated gravels, they agree well. Where OSL dating is the only technique available, it seems to replicate well, but must be treated with caution since there are relatively few aliquots. It is suggested on the basis of this initial OSL dating that the gravel deposits date from MIS 8 (Rochford and Cudmore Grove Gravels) and potentially also MIS 6 (Dammer Wick and Barling Gravels). However, the archaeological evidence from the Barling Gravel and the suggested correlations between this sequence and upstream Thames terraces conflict with this latter age estimate and suggest that it may need more investigation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in 'Proceedings of the Geologists' Association'. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Proceedings of the Geologists' Association" (citation above.)
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): OSL, AAR, Palaeolithic, Fluvial terrace sequence, Thames-Medway
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2012 10:34
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/4571

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