Pleistocene fluvial sediments, palaeontology and archaeology of the upper River Thames at Latton, Wiltshire, England

SG Lewis, D Maddy, C Buckingham, Geoffrey Coope, MH Field, David Keen, AWG Pike, DA Roe, RG Scaife, K Scott

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Pleistocene fluvial sediments of the Northmoor Member of the Upper Thames Formation exposed at Latton, Wiltshire, record episodic deposition close to the Churn-Thames confluence possibly spanning the interval from Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) 7 to 2. The sequence is dominated by gravel facies, indicating deposition by a high-energy, gravel-bed river. A number of fine-grained organic sediment bodies within the sequence have yielded palaeoenvironmental and biostratigraphical data from Mollusca, Coleoptera, vertebrates, pollen and plant macrofossils. The basal deposit (Facies Association A) contains faunal material indicating temperate conditions. Most of the palaeontological evidence including a distinctive small form of mammoth (Mammuthus cf. trogontherii), together with the U-series age estimate of > 147.4 +/- 20 kyr suggest correlation with MIS 7. The overlying deposits (Facies Associations B and C) represent deposition under a range of climatic conditions. Two fine-grained organic deposits occurred within Association B; one (Association Ba) in the northern part of the pit as a channel fill and the other (Association Bb) in its Southern part as a scour-fill deposit. The coleopteran assemblages from Ba, indicate that it accumulated under temperate oceanic conditions, while Bb, which also yielded a radiocarbon age estimate of 39560 780 C-14 yr BP, was formed under much colder and more continental climatic conditions. The sequence is considered to represent deposition within an alluvial fan formed at the Churn-Thames confluence; a depositional scenario which may account for the juxtaposition of sediments and fossils of widely differing age within the same altitudinal range. Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-205
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006


  • river terraces
  • palaeoenvironment
  • River Thames
  • fluvial sediments
  • handaxe
  • biostratigraphy
  • Late Pleistocene
  • England
  • mammoth


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