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Department of Archaeology


Fordwich has been revealed to be the oldest directly-dated Acheulean occurrence in the United Kingdom, with artefacts dating from 560,000 to 620,000 years ago (MIS 15). This makes it the second oldest Acheulean site in north-west Europe, and the oldest to display a known handaxe assemblage numbering into the hundreds. The site is technologically diverse, with flakes, cores, handaxes, scrapers and retouched implements identified. This makes Fordwich a unique archaeological occurrence in northern Europe. Fordwich is, however, under threat from the construction of a new bypass road, the first stage of which has already been granted approval. This project, supported by the Leakey Foundation, will support two years of enhanced excavations to maximise the information gained from this site. Outputs include test-pitting and dating of all remaining Fordwich sediment and more substantial excavations at the current trenches. This work will enhance our understanding of the technological capabilities of the earliest Acheulean hominins to colonise northern Europe.


Leakey Foundation

Team Members

Dr Tomos Proffitt

Dr Tobias Lauer

Professor Matthew Skinner

Dr Matthew Pope

Dr David Bridgland

Project Lead

Project Tags

Material Culture
Human Evolutionary Studies
Periods of interest: 
Geographical areas: 
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Human Evolution
Artefact Analysis & Technology
Field Methods
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