Archaeological tool making industry/ style associated with the Lower Palaeolithic. The industry is found across much of Europe, Africa and parts of Asia and dates from around 1.7 million years ago to 100,000 years ago.


Relating to the early stages of the Upper Palaeolithic culture in Europe and the Near East. It is dated in most places to about 34,000–29,000 years ago.


Rock consisting of angular fragments of stones cemented by finer calcareous material.


A British Upper Palaeolithic culture named after the type site of Creswell Crags in Derbyshire by Dorothy Garrod in 1926. It is also known as the British Late Magdalenian.


The term used by British geologists and archaeologists to refer to the most recent glaciation, broadly 114,000 – 12,000 years ago.

Dimlington Stadial

A term for the main glacial episode of the Late Devensian in Britain, also referred to as the Late Devensian Glaciation, c.26,000 to 13,000 years ago.


A rock or boulder that differs from the surrounding rock and is believed to have been brought from a distance by glacial action.


Rock deposited as a thin sheet by precipitation from flowing water


a tool with two faces usually made out of flint or chert, rounded at one end and pointed at the other. They were first made by our ancestors around 1.6 million years ago in Africa. In Worcestershire the earliest known is the Allesborough handaxe, which was probably made during one of the interstadials, between 300,000 and 424,000 years ago.

Holt Heath Member

The third terrace of the River Severn, also known as the ‘Main Terrace’; part of the Severn Valley Formation. Gravel overlain by sand; a high proportion of the gravel includes exotic clasts from Scotland, Lake District and Malvern Hills. Dated to MIS 6 through 10 (352,000 years ago to 130,000 years ago).


Modern humans and their closest relatives, e.g. Neanderthals and Homo Erectus

Hoxnian Stage

a geological period in the British Isles. It is equivalent to Marine Isotope Stage 11, which started c.424,000 years ago and ended c.374,000 years ago


Relating to a minor period of less cold climate during a glacial period.


geological period in the British Isles. The term is used for the second to latest interglacial period, broadly 130,000 to 110,000 years ago


Stone knapping technique most commonly associated with Neanderthal industries of the middle Palaeolithic


A clastic, predominantly silt-sized sediment that is formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. Much more common in the south and east of the British Isles, here formed at the end of the Palaeolithic and therefore sometimes seals and protects Late Upper Palaeolithic sites and associated deposits.

Long blade

A lithic tradition in the British Isles that is characterised by long thin blades and appeared right at the end of the Upper Palaeolithic

Lower Palaeolithic

A prehistoric period based on the type of tools used by our human ancestors, c.2.5 million years ago to 300,000 years ago

Marine Isotope Stages (MIS)

Alternating warm and cool periods in the Earth’s past climate recorded from oxygen isotope data recovered from deep sea core samples

Middle Palaeolithic

a prehistoric period based on the type of tools used by our human ancestors, c.300,000 years ago to 30,000 years ago


species of human that lived in the British Isles before modern humans, briefly over-lapping between c.45,000 and 36,000 years ago

Optical stimulated luminescence (A.K.A Optical dating or OSL)

Scientific dating technique determining how long ago minerals were last exposed to daylight. Used to date sediments

Oxygen Isotope

Isotopes are variants of chemical elements (same number of protons, different number of neutrons). Oxygen has three variants 16O, 17O, and 18O. The 18O/16O ratio provides a record of ancient water temperature


former silted-up water course


The study of interactions between organisms and/or interactions between organisms and their environments across geologic timescales


The Old Stone Age. In the British Isles this refers to the period between c. 1 million years ago and the end of the last Ice Age around 11,700 years ago.


An adjective referring to geographical areas close to glaciers where geomorphic processes occur such as freezing cycles and permafrost weathering


The current and most recent of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era and spans from 2.6 million years ago to the present. The Quaternary Period is divided into two epochs: the Pleistocene (2.6 million years ago to 11,700 years ago) and the Holocene (11,700 years ago to the present).


An extremely compact, hard, granular rock consisting essentially of quartz. It often occurs as silicified sandstone.


Professor Fred Shotton was a geologist, natural historian and Fellow of the Royal Society. He spent many years researching the geology of the West Midlands, culminating in his Professorship at the University of Birmingham between 1949 and 1974. In 2003 a project was funded by English Heritage through the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund to improve understanding of the Palaeolithic across the midlands, this project was named after Prof. Shotton: The Shotton Project: A Midlands Palaeolithic Network


The natural slow downslope movement of water-logged earth.

Upper Palaeolithic

a prehistoric period based on the type of tools used by our human ancestors, c.50,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago


Geological period in the British Isles equivalent to MIS 6 through 10 (352,000 years ago to 130,000 years ago) it appears to have included three glaciations and is followed by the Ipswichian.