Monument record ACT 003 - ARC Gravel Pit, Acton (Palaeolithic).

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In a large gravel pit beneath a deep layer of chalky boulder clay some distinctive black/brown flint implements were found in the early 20th century.


Grid reference Centred TL 8845 4612 (50m by 50m)
Map sheet TL84NE


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

1906: An attempt to prove man's existence before the glacial period by finding implements beneath the glacial blue boulder clay.

In a large gravel pit in Acton at a height of about 130 feet and beneath 20- 30 feet of chalky boulder clay lies an accumulation of gravel (badly battered glacial wash) containing some genuine flint implements. Finds made by Reverend J D Gray circa 1906 and later by F J Bennett and J S Hodder. Author believes that the torrent action of the melting glacier swept portions of the pre-glacial gravels into this depression on the upper slope of the Stour valley 4 miles S and 50 or 60 feet lower than gravel deposits discovered while sinking three wells in 1909. Wells were about five miles apart ranged E to W at 270-280 feet OD. Artefacts found in seam of unrolled gravels averaging 2 feet thick and over 100 feet down. They were examined by the British Museum.

The Acton pit gravels are distinctive being mainly black and brown flints (S4).
The gravel pit is now (1950) disused (S1).
OS gives grid reference as above. SAU records show this site at TM 883 461.

Wymer (S6, S7), considered all but three flakes in Ipswich museum from this site to be natural rather than artefacts. The exact stratigraphic provenance is uncertain (possibly incorporated with cryoturbated sediments), and Wymer regards it as unwise to consider the flakes as evidence form human activity prior to the glacial gravels or boulder clay.

See also deposit record. Gravels still extant. After pit disuse, caution advised.

No further details found in Ipswich Museum Accession registers September 2020.

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <S1> Index: OS. OS Card. OS, card TL84NE22, 1976.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: 1911. Victoria County History, Suffolk (VCH). 256.
  • <S3> Index: Ipswich Museum. IPSMG card. IPSMG card, no number, undated.
  • <S4> Article in serial: Holden, J. S. 1910. The existence of an early palaeolithic bed beneath the glacial boulder clays in South West Suffolk. PSIA, 14, 1910, (1), 6-8 (ill). Holden J S, The existence of an early palaeolithic bed beneath the glacial boulder clays in SW Suff,.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file : copy of (S4), precis of article in above description.
  • <S6> Digital archive: Wymer, J.J.. 1999. The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain (TERPs) The Lower Palaeolithic Occupation of Britain (TERPS). 22803.
  • <S7> Bibliographic reference: Wymer, J.J.. 1985. Palaeolithic Sites of East Anglia. 195.
  • <S8> Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.

Finds (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Mar 3 2021 1:54PM

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