STRUCK FLINT

Proposed struck flint probably dredged English Channel, 7 miles off Littlehampton, West Sussex.

Proposed struck flint probably dredged English Channel, 7 miles off Littlehampton, West Sussex.

“Struck flint” collected from Eastbourne beach following major replenishment with material dredged from the English Channel 7 miles off Littlehampton, close to the palaeovalley of the river Arun.  A link to information on the dredging and beach replenishment works and giving the location of the dredging area can be found by clicking “LINKS” in the menu in the header.

My inexpert eye recognises the flint as struck by human intent.

Although the beach at Eastbourne comprised grey/black flint pebbles prior to this major beach replenishment, I hadn’t noticed any such material showing signs of being struck before the beach replenishment.

It has been thought likely that the vicinity of the Arun Palaeovalley where the beach replenishment material was dredged from, now below sea level, was previously inhabited by man when sea levels were lower.  I think it has been expected that evidence of that habitation would turn up, and perhaps this material contributes to that: I think it was expected that would prove human habitation in the Mesolithic period of the Arun Palaeovalley, which is now a drowned landscape far offshore in the English Channel.

There is difficulty with this material as it is collected from a secondary situation (if it does originate from the dredging area), and the local beach material is also grey/black flint from the chalk cliffs immediately to the west of Eastbourne beach.  However, if this is struck flint, struck possibly in the Mesolithic period, then it might be harder to explain its occurrence on Eastbourne beach without the explanation that it was dredged from elsewhere where such material had been expected to be found.

As it is, tentatively, I suggest this material is struck flint by human intent, and originates from the vicinity of the Arun Palaeovalley, 7 miles offshore of Littlehampton, which is thought to have last been above sea level and therefore available to human habitation in the Mesolithic, which, if correct, would give a probable age to these “artifacts” during the Mesolithic.  Although, perhaps, sea levels were lower during a later period?  And given that the present land in the wider area of Littlehampton and the river Arun has proved relatively rich in Palaeolithic finds, such ancient origin of some of this material is possible.

The Boxgrove archaeoligical site (Homo Heidelbergensis, 500,000 years ago) is about 14 km distant from the current mouth of the river Arun.

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In August 2015 I collected some more of this “struck” flint from Eastbourne beach (picture below).  My presumptions that it is dredged material from the Inner Owers, and that it is indeed flint struck by man in the process of tool manufacture, probably both need questioning.

I have little expertise.  But at a later time I hope to make closer examination of some of the material and demonstrate that at least a significant proportion of it is flint struck by man.  I would also hope to show that most of the “struck” flint is not local material (there is much South Downs flint in the local chalk cliffs, and a great abundance of Neolithic flint artifacts in the locality of Eastbourne).  I would think it could then be concluded it is material dredged from the Inner Owers.

It’s been thought human occupation of the Arun Palaeovalley which is now under water in the English Channel was a strong likelihood, but to the best of my knowledge no decisive flint artifacts have been found to prove that.  Perhaps this material collected from Eastbourne beach will help to prove the case, even if it can’t offer much more than that given that it has not been found in its original place and context.

Possible worked flint collected from Eastbourne beach and probably dredged from the Inner Owers in the English Channel

Possible worked flint collected from Eastbourne beach and probably dredged from the Inner Owers in the English Channel

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