Finding Time for the Old Stone Age: A History of Palaeolithic Archaeology and Quaternary Geology in Britain, 1860-1960

Finding Time for the Old Stone Age: A History of Palaeolithic Archaeology and Quaternary Geology in Britain, 1860-1960

by Anne O'Connor

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Finding Time for the Old Stone Age explores a century of colourful debate over the age of our earliest ancestors. In the mid nineteenth century curious stone implements were found alongside the bones of extinct animals. Humans were evidently more ancient than had been supposed - but just how old were they? There were several clocks for Stone-Age (or Palaeolithic) time, and it would prove difficult to synchronize them. Conflicting timescales were drawn from the fields of geology, palaeontology, anthropology, and archaeology. Anne O'Connor draws on a wealth of lively, personal correspondence to explain the nature of these arguments. The trail leads from Britain to Continental Europe, Africa, and Asia, and extends beyond the world of professors, museum keepers, and officers of the Geological Survey: wine sellers, diamond merchants, papermakers, and clerks also proposed timescales for the Palaeolithic. This book brings their stories to light for the first time - stories that offer an intriguing insight into how knowledge was built up about the ancient British past.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780191526947
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Publication date: 08/16/2007
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 8 MB

About the Author

Anne O'Connor was formerly a Research Fellow in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University.

Table of Contents

List of Figures xiii List of Tables xvi Introduction xviii Location Maps xxix Dramatis Personae xxxi
1 Before the Stone Age Existed 1
2 Arguments over the Ice Age 27
3 Ancient Dwellers of the Thames Valley 73
4 River-Drift Men and Cave Men 101
5 Eoliths: An Earlier Phase of the Stone Age? 131
6 The Pre-Palaeolithic of East Anglia 169
7 Chronologies of the Early Twentieth Century 203
8 Swanscombe: A Standard Stone-Age Sequence for Britain? 239
9 The Advent of the Abbe Breuil 277
10 Geological Re-shuffling and the Growth of Suspicion 307 Conclusion 343 Glossary 359 Bibliography 363 Index 409

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