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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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no 1113963
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm. We are also open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.
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Geology Site Account


Folkestone Road allotments, EAST HAM, London Borough of Newham, TQ436829, Historical site only

 
 
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Temporary exposure of fossiliferous deposits. Further excavations in the vicinity could yield further fossils.

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Site description

In September 1958, close to the present Folkestone Road allotments, workmen employed on the site of East Ham Sewage Works uncovered part of the skeleton of an aurochs or wild ox (Bos primigenius), thought to be between 3,000 and 6,000 years old. In August 1959 another partial skeleton was found, also from the sewage works, this time from the Oaken Trough, a tributary of Barking Creek.

Aurochs were ancestors of our present day domestic cattle but were considerably larger, and with their large horns they must have been a formidable sight, especially in large herds. Bulls were over 1.8 metres (6 feet) high at the shoulder and with a horn-spread of up to about 1.2 metres (4 feet). Aurochs were very common during the latter part of the Ice Age and feature prominently in the world-famous 17,000 year-old cave paintings of Lascaux, France. They are thought to have died out in England towards the end of the Bronze Age.

The bones were entombed in peat, overlying river gravel. The land here is extremely low-lying, only a metre or so above sea level, and at the time these animals were trapped it must have been a bog along the bank of Barking Creek.

The bones are now in the Natural History Museum, London. (See also the site entry for Chingford Reservoir excavations).


 

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Reference: Banks 1961

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