• Shoreham-by-Sea:  Prehistory

  • Prehistoric
  • 85 million years ago, Cretaceous Period (144 - 66.4 million years ago): Sussex is covered by a warm sea inhabited by ammonites, Micraster urchins, molluscs, at a lower latitude (Continental Drift: Tectonic Plate Theory). Sedimentary deposits of  foraminiferans such as Globigerina and coccoliths (microscopic plankton with a calcium carbonate shell) lay down the chalk which is rock of the South Downs near Shoreham.
  • Santonian Age (87.5 to 84 million years ago). The stage's name derives from the town of Saintes in western France, the area surrounding which is the classic type district for rocks of this age.

  • Chalk deposition in eastern England from Cenomanian to Maastrichtian time.
  • Ref. for the chalk beds.
  • 60 million years ago, Tertiary (66.4 million - 2.3 million years ago).  Sussex is alternately covered by sea and tropical deltas. (After the mass extinction of the dinosaurs and life in the sea at the end of the Cretaceous period, the placental mammals evolved to become the dominant animals on Planet Earth.)
  • 14 million years ago, Miocene Epoch, the British Isles become dry land and begin to look as they do today. Mastodons (an elephant) and Rhinoceros roamed.
  • 2 million years ago: Pleistocene Epoch (2,300,000 - 9,000 years ago): Ice Age with northern Britain covered by a large Ice Shield and southern England is connected to the Continent. (Hominids Australopithecus evolved about 4.5 million years ago and Homo erectus (not a precursor to Homo sapiens) about 1.64 million years ago in Africa.) Elephant, Zebra, Gazelle, Horse and Deer roamed in woods of Alder, Oak, Pine, Spruce etc. Climatic variations during this Epoch.
  • (Revision from the Observer 3 October 1999, Homo erectus evolved in Africa 2 million years ago,  now revised after a discovery of Homo erectus at Dmanisi, Georgia, dated at 1.8 million years old. No photographs of the skulls yet published.)
  • 500 thousand years ago. Habitation by Hominids (Primitive Man), Homo heidelbergensis (is this a variant of Homo erectus, at Boxgrove, West Sussex.  The skull was not found, but two teeth were discovered. Hominds hunted, &/or scavenged, animals including the Rhinoceros Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis, the Bear Ursus deningeri, Giant Deer Megaloceros dawkinsi, and the Horse, Equus ferus, using flint bifaces (axes, cutting edges were formed from the intersection of two curved and flaked surfaces). Temperate climate.
  • (Britain at this time was a peninsula of continental Europe, the English Channel was closed at the eastern end.)
  • Boxgrove Archaeological Site
  • Boxgrove

  • A Middle Pleistocene hominid site at Eartham Quarry, Boxgrove, West Sussex
    M B Roberts & S A Parfitt
    English Heritage 1999  Archaeological Report 17
    ISBN  1 85074 670 2
  • 200 thousand years ago. Swanscombe Man discovered in southern England, species Homo heidelbergensis pre-dating the discovery of Neanderthal, Homo neanderthalensis, (not discovered in England, but found in the Neander Valley, Germany, dated 100 thousand years ago, but disappeared from the fossil record 30 thousand years ago. Could neanderthals talk?). Climate very warm, as warm as the Nile Valley (Mindel-Riss interglacial).
  • (Homo neanderthalensis became extinct about 30 thousand years ago.)
  • (circa. 90 thousand years ago. Homo sapiens fossils discovered in several locations in Africa and Israel).
  • Ref to European hominids:  Boxgrove (Archaeological Report 17) page 417.
  • Homo heidelbergensis (also known as an archaic Homo sapiens) can reasonably be thought of as the ancestor of both Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis (two separate species that probably did not interbreed).
  • Homo sapiens first arrived in Europe about 40,000 years ago.
  • Ref:  Variety of Life
  • 100-70 thousand years ago (Ipswichian interglacial). Evidence of stone tools used by hominids from Hoxne near Diss in Suffolk.
  • 25 thousand years ago. England covered by grasslands, with Mammoth, Woolly Rhinocerous, Horse, Bison, Reindeer, Brown Bear, Wolf and Arctic Fox.
  • 20 thousand years ago. An Ice Age covered the earth with the glaciers reaching mid-England. Southern England would be very cold like the Arctic and unable to support Man.
  • 14 thousand years ago. The Ice begins to melt. Birch and pines in southern England.
  • 11 thousand years ago. The European rivers deposited the acorns and the seeds of the broad-leafed forest that began to replace the evergreens as the weather becme warmer.
  • 8000 BC:  First evidence of Mesolithic Man in Sussex. These nomadic people hunted and fished using primitive flint tools. Reindeer, Lynx, Boar, Beaver, Horse, Wolf and Bear roamed in extensive woods of Elm, Alder, Ash, Oak, Birch, Hazel, Lime etc.
  • 6500 BC. The glaciers melt, the sea rises and Britain becomes an island.
  • The chalk is weathered and covered by grasses and wildwood, mostly Elm. The River Adur deposits clay from the Weald, and flint is left on the beach after the friable chalk has eroded away

  • The exact dates of the arrival of the trees are general for southern England and not specific To Sussex: they may need to be revised as later research will undoubtedly uncover more accurate records.
  • About 4070 BC (Neolithic Age) there is evidence that flint was mined at Church Hill near Worthing (5 miles west of Shoreham).
  • 3200 BC First construction of Stonehenge.
  • 2600 BC Avebury Stone Circles.
  • 2000 BC Bluestones incorporated into Stonehenge.
  • 1900 BC Lunar? stone circles in Scotland, Cairnpapple Hill, Lothian.

  • See also Timeline on Microsoft Encarta

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