by John Wymer
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This volume presents a synthesis based on a comprehensive seven year survey of the Palaeolithic archaeology of England and Wales. That survey sought to identify the findspots and plot the distribution of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic artefacts in relation to the deposits containing them. This volume is concerned not only with artefacts but with people; when and where they moved through the land we now know as Britain and in interpreting, where possible, what they were doing during the half million or so years of their occupation. It begins with a brief introduction to the period, the nature of the archaeological resource, and a history of Palaeolithic research. This is followed by detailed considerations of the geological and climatological background, the formation and importance of river terraces, of the people themselves, and of fauna and flora that existed alongside them. The main thrust of the report is a landscape based review of the evidence, beginning with a journey along all the main river valleys. The evidence is then reviewed for occupation beside the sea, around lakes, on the downs, plains, hills and fringes of the highlands, and in caves and rock shelters. It concludes with a future research agenda which poses a number of questions. The report is accompanied by a separate volume of colour maps summarising all the major distributions by area.