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164

SECTION ACROSS THE VALLEY OF THE OUSE.

CHAP. IX.

French types figured at pp. 114, 115. Both specimens were thrown out by the workmen on the same day from the lowest bed of stratified gravel and sand, thirteen feet thick, containing bones of the elephant, deer, and ox, and many fresh-water shells. The two implements occurred at the depth of thirteen feet from the surface of the soil, and rested immediately on solid beds of colitic limestone, as represented in the accompanying section.

Fig. 23

[blocks in formation]

Section across the Valley of the Ouse, two miles WNW. of Bedford.*
1 Oolitic strata.
2 Boulder clay, or marine northern drift, rising to about ninety feet

above the Ouse.
3 Ancient gravel, with elephant bones, freshwater shells, and fint im-

plements.
4 Modern alluvium of the Ouse.
a Biddenham gravel pits, at the bottom of which flint tools were

found.

I examined these pits, in 1861, in company with Messrs. Prestwich, Evans, and Wyatt, and we collected ten species of shells from the stratified drift No. 3, or the beds overlying the lowest gravel from which the flint implements had been exhumed. They were all of common Auviatile and land species now living in the same part of England. Since our visit, Mr. Wyatt has added to them Paludina marginata Michaud (Hydrobia of some authors, see p. 225 infra), species of the South of France no longer inhabiting the British Isles. The same geologist has also found, since we were at Biddenham, several other flint tools of corresponding type, both there and at other localities in the Valley of the Ouse, near Bedford.

The boulder clay, No. 2, extends for miles in all directions,

* Prestwich, Quarterly Geological Society, vol. xvii. p. 364, 1861; and Wyatt, Geologist,' Monthly Magazine, 1861, p. 242.

CHAP. IX.

FLINT TOOLS NEAR BEDFORD.

165

and was evidently once continuous from b to c, before the valley was scooped out. It is a portion of the great marine glacial drift of the midland counties of England, and contains blocks, some of large size, not only of the oolite of the neighbourhood, but of chalk and other rocks transported from still greater distances, such as syenite, basalt, quartz, and new red sandstone. These erratic blocks of foreign origin are often polished and striated, having undergone what is called glaciation, of which more will be said by and by. Blocks of the same mineral character, embedded at Biddenham in the gravel No. 3, have lost all signs of this striation by the friction to which they were subjected in the old river-bed.

The great width of the valley of the Ouse, which is sometimes two miles, has not been expressed in the diagram. It may have been shaped out by the joint action of the river and the tides when this part of England was emerging from the waters of the glacial sea, the boulder clay being first cut through, and then an equal thickness of underlying oolite. After this denudation, which may have accompanied the emergence of the land, the country was inhabited by the primitive people who fashioned the fint tools. The old river, aided perhaps by the continued upheaval of the whole country, or by oscillations in its level, went on widening and deepening the valley, often shifting its channel, until at length a broad area was covered by a succession of the earliest and latest deposits, which may have corresponded in age to the higher and lower gravels of the valley of the Somme, already described, p. 130. Mr. Prestwich has hinted that perhaps the drift of Biddenham, which is thirty feet above the present level of the Ouse, and contains bones of Elephas primigenius, and the shells above alluded to, may be a higher level alluvium; and the gravel on which the town of Bedford is built, which is at an inferior level relatively to the Ouse, may be a lower deposit and consequently newer. But we have scarcely as yet sufficient data

166

ANCIENT FLINT IMPLEMENTS

CHAP. IX.

to enable us to determine the relative age of these strata. In the Bedford gravel, last alluded to, some remains of Hippopotamus major and Elephas (antiquus ?) have been discovered.

Mr. Wyatt has also obtained lately (Jan. 1863), a flint implement associated with bones and teeth of hippopotamus from gravel at Summerhouse hill, which lies east of Bedford, lower down the valley of the Ouse, and four miles from Biddenham.

One step at least we gain by the Bedford sections, which those of Amiens and Abbeville had not enabled us to make. They teach us that the fabricators of the antique tools, and the extinct mammalia coeval with them, were all post-glacial, or, in other words, posterior to the grand submergence of Central England beneath the waters of the glacial sea.

Flint Implements in a Freshuater Deposit at Hoxne in

Suffolk. So early as the first year of the present century, a remarkable paper was communicated to the Society of Antiquaries by Mr. John Frere, in which he gave a clear description of the discovery at Hoxne, near Diss, in Suffolk, of flint tools of the type since found at Amiens, adding at the same time good geological reasons for presuming that their antiquity was very great, or, as he expressed it, beyond that of the present world, meaning the actual state of the physical geography of that region. The flints,' he said, “were evidently weapons of war, fabricated and used by a people who had not the use of metals. They lay in great numbers at the depth of about twelve feet in a stratified soil which was dug into for the purpose of raising clay for bricks. Under a foot and a half of vegetable earth was clay seven and a half feet thick, and beneath this one foot of sand with shells, and under this two feet of gravel, in which the shaped Aints were found generally at the rate of five or six in a square yard. In the sandy beds with shells were found the jaw bone and teeth of

CHAP. IX.

AT HOXNE, NEAR DISS, SUFFOLK.

167

an enormous unknown animal. The manner in which the flint weapons lay would lead to the persuasion that it was a place of their manufacture, and not of their accidental deposit. Their numbers were so great that the man who carried on the brick-work told me that before he was aware of their being objects of curiosity, he had emptied baskets full of them into the ruts of the adjoining road.'

Mr. Frere then goes on to explain that the strata in which the flints occur are disposed horizontally, and do not lie at the foot of any higher ground, so that portions of them must have been removed when the adjoining valley was hollowed out. If the author had not mistaken the freshwater shells associated with the tools for marine species, there would have been nothing to correct in his account of the geology of the district, for he distinctly perceived that the strata in which the implements were embedded had, since that time, undergone very extensive denudation.* Specimens of the flint spearheads, sent to London by Mr. Frere, are still preserved in the British Museum, and others are in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries.

Mr. Prestwich's attention was called by Mr: Evans to those weapons, as well as to Mr. Frere's memoir after his return from Amiens in 1859, and he lost no time in visiting Hoxne, a village five miles eastward of Diss. It is not a little remarkable that he should have found, after a lapse of sixty years, that the extraction of clay was still going on in the same brick-pit. Only a few months before his arrival, two fint instruments had been dug out of the clay, one from a. depth of seven and the other of ten feet from the surface. Others have since been disinterred from undisturbed beds of gravel in the same pit. Mr. Amyot, of Diss, has also obtained from the underlying freshwater strata the astragalus of an elephant, and bones of the deer and horse; but although many of the old implements have recently been discovered

* Frere, Archæologia for 1800, vol. xiii. p. 206.

168

FLINT IMPLEMENTS IN SUFFOLK.

CHAP. ix.

in situ in regular strata and preserved by Sir Edward Kerrison, no bones of extinct mammalia seem as yet to have been actually seen in the same stratum with one of the tools.

By reference to the annexed section, the geologist will see that the basin-shaped hollow a, b, c, has been filled up gradually with the fresh-water strata 3, 4, 5, after the same cavity a, b, c, had been previously excavated out of the more ancient boulder clay, No. 6. The relative position of these formations will be better understood when I have described in the Twelfth

[blocks in formation]

Section showing the position of the flint weapons at Hoxne, near Diss, Suffolk,

See Prestwich, Philosophical Transactions, Pl. 11. 1860.
1 Gravel of Gold Brook, a tributary of the Waveny.
2 Higher-level gravel overlying the freshwater deposit.
3 and 4, Sand and gravel, with freshwater shells, and flint imple-

ments, and bones of mammalia.
6 Peaty and clayey beds, with same fossils.
6 Boulder clay or glacial drift.
7 Sand and gravel below boulder clay,
8 Chalk with flints.

Chapter the structure of Norfolk and Suffolk as laid open in the sea-cliffs at Mundesley, about thirty miles distant from Hoxne, in a North North-east direction.

I examined the deposits at Hoxne in 1860, when I had the advantage of being accompanied by the Rev. J. Gunn, and the Rev. S. W. King. In the loamy beds 3 and 4, fig. 24, we observed the common river shell Valvata piscinalis in great numbers. With it, but much more rare, were Limnea palustris, Planorbis albus, P. spirorbis, Succinea putris, Bithynia tentaculata, Cyclas cornea; and Mr. Prestwich mentions Cyclas amnica and fragments of a Unio, besides

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