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Mid–late Quaternary fluvial archives near the margin of the MIS 12 glaciation in southern East Anglia, UK: amalgamation of multi-disciplinary and citizen-science data sources

Mid–late Quaternary fluvial archives near the margin of the MIS 12 glaciation in southern East Anglia, UK: amalgamation of multi-disciplinary and citizen-science data sources
Mid–late Quaternary fluvial archives near the margin of the MIS 12 glaciation in southern East Anglia, UK: amalgamation of multi-disciplinary and citizen-science data sources
This paper presents an updated geological reconstruction of the Quaternary evolution of the River Thames at its downstream extremities, close to the North Sea coast, based on new data from multi-disciplinary and citizen-science sources. In this area, the interaction of the Thames with the MIS 12 (Anglian) glaciation is an important part of the Quaternary archive. The Anglian ice sheet, which reached parts of north and east London, was responsible for diverting the Thames southwards into its present course, although the footprint of the maximum ice sheet(s) does not reach the North Sea coast south of Hollesley, Suffolk. Further south, the coastal zone hosts pre-Anglian and early Anglian river-terrace deposits of the pre-diversion Thames system, superimposed upon which are products of later post-Anglian rivers, of both Middle and Late Pleistocene age. On the peninsula between the Stour and Blackwater–Colne estuaries, the lowest and most recent terrace of the pre-diversion Thames includes evidence directly pertaining to the glacial disruption event, for which geochronological data are reported here for the first time. The first post-diversion terrace of the Thames also reaches this peninsula, the river having essentially re-joined its original valley before crossing the alignment of the modern coastline. This terrace passes beneath Clacton-on-Sea, where it includes the type locality of the Clactonian Palaeolithic Industry. The area of interest to this paper, in NE Essex and southern Suffolk, includes a number of interglacial and Palaeolithic sites, the data from which assist in constraining the chronostratigraphy of the sequence. In some cases, there has been uncertainty as to whether these sites represent pre-Anglian environments and hominin occupations, part of the palaeo-Thames sequence, or whether they are the product of later post-Anglian streams, formed after the Thames had migrated southwards. This paper compiles evidence from a wide range of recent sources, including developer-funded archaeological appraisal and citizen-science activities, to explore and update the evidence from sites at Ipswich, Upper Dovercourt and Thorpe-le-Soken, as well as a number of localities associated with the Clacton Channel Deposits (host to the type-Clactonian), amongst others. The resulting new data are placed within the wider context of the Quaternary fluvial archives in southern Britain, with a discussion of how disparate sources of information, including the work of citizen scientists, have contributed.
AAR dating, MIS 12 glaciation, Palaeolithic artefacts, River Thames, citizen science, fluvial archives, luminescence dating, molluscs, ostracods
2571-550X
Allen, Peter
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Bain, David R.
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Bridgland, David R.
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Buisson, Paul
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Buylaert, Jan-Pieter
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Bynoe, Rachel
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George, William H.
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Haggart, B. Andrew
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Horne, David J.
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Littlewood, Ellen-May
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Lord, Alan R.
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March, Anna C.
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Mercer, Ian
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Mercer, Rosalind
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Murray, Andrew S.
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Penkman, Kirsty E.H.
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Preece, Richard C.
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Ratford, John
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Schreve, Danielle C.
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Snelling, Andrew J.R.
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Sohar, Kadri
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Whittaker, John
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White, Mark J.
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White, Tom S.
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Allen, Peter
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Bain, David R.
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Bridgland, David R.
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Buisson, Paul
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Buylaert, Jan-Pieter
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Bynoe, Rachel
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George, William H.
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Haggart, B. Andrew
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Horne, David J.
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Littlewood, Ellen-May
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Lord, Alan R.
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March, Anna C.
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Mercer, Ian
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Mercer, Rosalind
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Murray, Andrew S.
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Penkman, Kirsty E.H.
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Preece, Richard C.
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Ratford, John
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Schreve, Danielle C.
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Snelling, Andrew J.R.
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Sohar, Kadri
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Whittaker, John
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White, Mark J.
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White, Tom S.
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Allen, Peter, Bain, David R., Bridgland, David R., Buisson, Paul, Buylaert, Jan-Pieter, Bynoe, Rachel, George, William H., Haggart, B. Andrew, Horne, David J., Littlewood, Ellen-May, Lord, Alan R., March, Anna C., Mercer, Ian, Mercer, Rosalind, Murray, Andrew S., Penkman, Kirsty E.H., Preece, Richard C., Ratford, John, Schreve, Danielle C., Snelling, Andrew J.R., Sohar, Kadri, Whittaker, John, White, Mark J. and White, Tom S. (2022) Mid–late Quaternary fluvial archives near the margin of the MIS 12 glaciation in southern East Anglia, UK: amalgamation of multi-disciplinary and citizen-science data sources. Quaternary, 5 (3), [37]. (doi:10.3390/quat5030037).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper presents an updated geological reconstruction of the Quaternary evolution of the River Thames at its downstream extremities, close to the North Sea coast, based on new data from multi-disciplinary and citizen-science sources. In this area, the interaction of the Thames with the MIS 12 (Anglian) glaciation is an important part of the Quaternary archive. The Anglian ice sheet, which reached parts of north and east London, was responsible for diverting the Thames southwards into its present course, although the footprint of the maximum ice sheet(s) does not reach the North Sea coast south of Hollesley, Suffolk. Further south, the coastal zone hosts pre-Anglian and early Anglian river-terrace deposits of the pre-diversion Thames system, superimposed upon which are products of later post-Anglian rivers, of both Middle and Late Pleistocene age. On the peninsula between the Stour and Blackwater–Colne estuaries, the lowest and most recent terrace of the pre-diversion Thames includes evidence directly pertaining to the glacial disruption event, for which geochronological data are reported here for the first time. The first post-diversion terrace of the Thames also reaches this peninsula, the river having essentially re-joined its original valley before crossing the alignment of the modern coastline. This terrace passes beneath Clacton-on-Sea, where it includes the type locality of the Clactonian Palaeolithic Industry. The area of interest to this paper, in NE Essex and southern Suffolk, includes a number of interglacial and Palaeolithic sites, the data from which assist in constraining the chronostratigraphy of the sequence. In some cases, there has been uncertainty as to whether these sites represent pre-Anglian environments and hominin occupations, part of the palaeo-Thames sequence, or whether they are the product of later post-Anglian streams, formed after the Thames had migrated southwards. This paper compiles evidence from a wide range of recent sources, including developer-funded archaeological appraisal and citizen-science activities, to explore and update the evidence from sites at Ipswich, Upper Dovercourt and Thorpe-le-Soken, as well as a number of localities associated with the Clacton Channel Deposits (host to the type-Clactonian), amongst others. The resulting new data are placed within the wider context of the Quaternary fluvial archives in southern Britain, with a discussion of how disparate sources of information, including the work of citizen scientists, have contributed.

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Accepted/In Press date: 5 August 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 3 September 2022
Keywords: AAR dating, MIS 12 glaciation, Palaeolithic artefacts, River Thames, citizen science, fluvial archives, luminescence dating, molluscs, ostracods

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 470429
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/470429
ISSN: 2571-550X
PURE UUID: baaa8fd7-40ed-4344-aa56-3d7acdbaafbe

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Date deposited: 10 Oct 2022 17:04
Last modified: 10 Oct 2022 17:05

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Contributors

Author: Peter Allen
Author: David R. Bain
Author: David R. Bridgland
Author: Paul Buisson
Author: Jan-Pieter Buylaert
Author: Rachel Bynoe
Author: William H. George
Author: B. Andrew Haggart
Author: David J. Horne
Author: Ellen-May Littlewood
Author: Alan R. Lord
Author: Anna C. March
Author: Ian Mercer
Author: Rosalind Mercer
Author: Andrew S. Murray
Author: Kirsty E.H. Penkman
Author: Richard C. Preece
Author: John Ratford
Author: Danielle C. Schreve
Author: Andrew J.R. Snelling
Author: Kadri Sohar
Author: John Whittaker
Author: Mark J. White
Author: Tom S. White

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