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Seabed Prehistory: Area 240
Between 2008 and 2011 Wessex Archaeology conducted a detailed and far reaching study in aggregate licence Area 240, which is situated approximately 11 km east of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. The project, entitled Seabed Prehistory: Site Evaluation Techniques (Area 240), built on the work of Wessex Archaeology’s Seabed Prehistory project.
The Area 240 project, which was funded by the Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) through English Heritage, was initiated in response to the discovery in February 2008 of 88 flint tools and associated faunal remains amongst aggregate from dredging licence Area 240. Initial assessment of the flint tools indicated that they were Lower or Middle Palaeolithic. These finds represent one of the most significant discoveries of Palaeolithic material from the North Sea as the quality and quantity of the artefacts suggests that a number of them had lain undisturbed since their deposition.
Prior to this discovery, it was generally thought that deposits of this date had been destroyed or disturbed by glaciation and subsequent sea level rise. The discoveries from Area 240 suggest that in certain areas at least, some of this earlier material still survives under the sea.
This project fully investigated Area 240 in order to test, develop and refine techniques for exploring our submerged prehistory. By employing these techniques in the future we can hope to locate, explore and protect further sites of Palaeolithic significance in our waters.