Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Suffolk


Suffolk is one of the most important counties in England for Early Prehistoric (Palaeolithic and Mesolithic) archaeological remains. This is not just in terms of numbers of finds or sites - there are 1676 separate Historic Environment records - but also because it is home to some of the most important sites in Europe, such as Pakefield (HER record GSE 061) and Beeches Pit (WSW 009). Suffolk also has significant post-glacial Long Blade sites, such as Devils Wood Pit (SPT 001), and has a wealth of Mesolithic material.


The Suffolk Historic Environment Record (SHER) uses the dating format BC (BCE) AD (CE). However, it is also common in Early Prehistoric archaeology to use years ago BP (before present); (“present” in this context is 1950). In the SHER records, date ranges have been approximately converted from BP to BC, where appropriate. Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) are used as the chronological framework to describe glacial cycles as well as years ago BP.

Explore this section further to find out more about important aspects of East Anglian Early Prehistory, including periods, tool types, important sites, and important figures in the history of investigation.


Watch an introduction to Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Suffolk

with Dr Hannah Cutler (Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service)


show three faces of an acheulean flint handaxe

Enhancement Project

for the Historic Environment Record

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showing three faces of a Terminal Palaeolithic Long Blade

Palaeolithic Suffolk

c.850,000 years ago

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showing two sides of a pebble mace, in brown coloured stone with a hole in the middle

Mesolithic Suffolk

c.9,000 to 4,000 BCE

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a handaxe made of dark flint


Palaeolithic and Mesolithic terms 

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showing two faces of a Levallois flint core

Further Reading

a list of useful publications 

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a collection of objects on a table, a framed photo of hand axes and a book about Layard

The People Behind the Archaeology

visit the blog to find out more

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