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Palaeolithic in Bristol

Map showing location of Shirehampton, Pill and St. Annes

The earliest evidence for human activity in the Bristol area comes from the terraces of river gravels on either side of the River Avon at Shirehampton and Pill and at St. Anne's. In these places artefacts around 60,000 years old have been discovered. The largest concentration of finds is from Shirehampton and Pill where many hundreds of artefacts have been discovered but material of a similar age was also found in east Bristol in the 1920s.

Many have been donated to Bristol Museum which now has a large collection of material from the region.We know very little about the gravel terraces from which these finds came. Recent scientific dating of the terrace underlying Shirehampton found that it was just under 200,000 years old belongs to the Middle Pleistocene. Yet major questions still remain about how and when the terraces formed.

A Research Framework for the Bristol Avon

To help develop our understanding of the Avon Dr. Martin Bates of the University of Lampeter and Dr. Francis Wenban-Smith of the University of Southampton have written a Research Framework for the river. This explains the background, sets out what we already know of each section of the river, and what our research priorities should be. The Appendices provide technical advice for archaeologists designing projects to investigate the gravel terraces.

Download: Palaeolithic Research Framework (PDF size 2.3 Mb)
Download: Palaeolithic Research Framework Appendices (PDF size 212 Kb)

If you have any views we would be interested to hear them. Email the City Archaeologist at City Archaeologist

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