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Essex Field Club
Essex Field Club
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EFC Centre at Wat Tyler Country ParkWe are closed due to the Covid-19 situation, but we are otherwise normally open to the public at our centre at Wat Tyler Country Park every Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday 11am-4pm, check. We are also normally open on Wednesdays 10am-4pm.

Geology Site Account

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Gerpins Pit, Rainham, RAINHAM, London Borough of Havering, TQ555840, Historical site only

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Summary

Former pit that has provided information about the underlying geology and Palaeolithic archaeology. Any further significant excavations in the area should be recorded.

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Site description

The great spread of Corbets Tey Gravel between Upminster and Grays, part of the Lynch Hill/Corbets Tey terrace of the Thames, rests on London Clay bedrock and has been extensively worked in numerous gravel pits. Finds of Palaeolithic hand-axes indicate that early Neanderthal hunters were living here, on the banks of a much larger Thames, when the gravel was deposited about 300,000 years ago (Marine Isotope Stages 10-8). Gerpins Pit, for example, east of Gerpins Farm, has yielded at least eight flint hand-axes.

Of particular interest at Gerpins Pit is an old record of organic deposits containing wood. This information comes from a sketch, made in 1936-7 which shows eight metres of sand above ‘submerged trees’. This may be a channel within the Corbets Tey Gravel which was filled with plant material during a later interglacial stage.

 

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Reference: Wymer 1985 (p.289), Bridgland 1994 (p.227).

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