Lectures are open to all and there is no charge for admission. However regular attendees are expected to be members of the society.

7:45pm for 8:00pm

Sorby Room, Wager Building, (formerly Geoscience),
The University of Reading,
Whiteknights, Reading.
Use Car Park 8


Monday 2 March 2020

Quaternary of the southern North Sea

Dr Andrew Bellamy, Tarmac

The geo-archaeological significance of Pleistocene sand and gravel aggregate deposits offshore East Anglia During cold stages of the Pleistocene, with sea level much lower than at present, millions of tonnes of sand and gravel accumulated over the now submerged floodplains of East Anglian rivers including the ancestral Yare, Stour and Orwell. For over forty years, these deposits have been dredged as a source of aggregate for construction, reclamation and coastal defence. Since 2007 some 36 flint hand axes, 79 worked flakes and flake tools and 9 cores have been found at wharves in aggregates extracted from a specific part of the palaeo-Yare floodplain off Great Yarmouth. The commonly good condition of the artefacts suggests that they were made local to the find-site on the former floodplain. The dredged sediments in which they were found date from 200 – 250,000 years BP (according to optically stimulated luminescence dating), within the Wolstonian cold stage of the Middle Palaeolithic. In 2015 an even larger quantity of hand axes and flakes were found on Clacton beach following a major beach replenishment project. The gravelly sands pumped ashore for the project were sourced from submerged fluvial deposits from a specific licence area in the outer Thames Estuary. Whilst many of the stone tools found were simple flakes and cores, on initial inspection around 20% of this collection have been fashioned using the Levallois technique. This is the technology that, in Britain and Europe, is associated with the Neanderthals. The finds at Clacton were associated with faunal remains including woolly mammoth, horse, bison and woolly rhinoceros, interpreted as mid-Devensian in age c.74-20,000 years BP. Both the palaeo Yare and Clacton beach find-sites are of national significance and provide good examples of the marine aggregates industry, Government regulators and technical specialists working together. Both sites are the subject of research projects taking advantage of the high resolution seismic and core sample data available from the industry, some of which will be shown in the presentation.

Dr Andy Bellamy responsible for locating commercially viable marine sand and gravel aggregate deposits off the UK and obtaining Government Marine Licences for their extraction for Tarmac Marine Ltd. His first degree is from the University of London, and his Phd is from the University of Reading.

Programme 2020

The programme for 2020 as currently proposed is also available as a pdf document.

Other programmes

Previous years programmes and other programme information can be found on the About us page.