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Essex Field Club
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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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Roots Hall Gravel Pit (site of), PRITTLEWELL, Southend District, TQ874868, Historical site only

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Site category: Thames-Medway River

Former gravel pit that yielded Palaeolithic artifacts.


Site description

Southend United’s football ground was built in the 1950s on the site of a former gravel pit known as Roots Hall Pit. It was an ideal location as the long period of gravel extraction had led to a bowl shaped site. The gravel, known as Southchurch Gravel, was originally deposited as a terrace of the northward- flowing Thames-Medway River during the middle of the Ice Age. In Southend Central Museum are two flint hand-axes and some flint flakes that came from this pit. The hand-axes were found in 1914 and 1935.

The position of the pit on the gravel terrace indicates that this spot was originally on the left bank of the Thames-Medway River 380,000 years ago (the approximate age of the gravel), and the flint tools may have been lost or discarded by Neanderthal hunters while pursuing the local wildlife which then would have consisted of large mammals such as elephant and early mammoth.


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Reference: Wymer 1985 (p. 326)

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