Palaeolithic (c.750,000BC – c.10,000BC)

The Palaeolithic comprises the longest period of human history, and encompasses the full development of humanity from the earliest hominins in Africa up to modern human groups prior to the last Ice Age. Kent is particularly rich in finds of Palaeolithic material, mainly of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic date. Most of this material is from derived, essentially secondary contexts, comprising isolated finds of artefacts, usually handaxes, and tends to concentrate in the major river valleys on a sequence of gravel terraces. Important deposits of material have been located in the Thames valley and its tributaries, although much of the evidence has been found further upstream in the Swanscombe and Grays area. Although little work has been carried out in the Cliffe Marshes area in comparison with the Medway, the area is thought to be of lesser importance in comparison with the terrace gravels further upstream, and across the Hoo ridge in the lower reaches of the Medway. The latter area appears to have been a favored region for Palaeolithic communities, although the eastern end of the Hoo Peninsula may be important for understanding the confluence of the Thames and Medway.


Source: R.S.P.B/Archaeology South-East

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