Understanding and Monitoring The Cromer Forest-Bed Formation

Author(s): Nick Ashton, Simon G Lewis, S Parfitt, Bates, M R, Richard Bates, Rachel Bynoe, Justin K Dix, Peter Hoare, Fraser Sturt

The Cromer Forest-bed Formation that is exposed on the foreshores of the Suffolk and Norfolk coasts is of critical importance in understanding the earliest human occupation of northern Europe, but is under continual destruction from coastal erosion. This report is the culmination of a four year programme to monitor and understand better the process of erosion and the impact it is having on the contained Lower Palaeolithic archaeology and the associated fossil record. The long-term aim is to find effective ways of dealing with this significant threat. The report is divided into six main sections, which after the introduction deal with the geological and geophysical investigations both onshore and offshore (Section 2) and a summary of these results (Section 3). An assessment of future impact is provided in Section 4, which is followed by suggestions for dealing with future monitoring and work to deal with the impact (Section 5). A summary of recommendations is given in Section 6. These highlight the need for: 1. Further onshore geoarchaeological investigation at Happisburgh using coring and geophysics for better mapping of the archaeologically significant deposits. 2. Geophysical investigations in the Happisburgh to Eccles offshore zone to provide better seabed and sub-surface mapping of potential offshore sites. The area around the Monks is of particular interest. 3. Developing long-term links with local collectors and improving public awareness to monitor and record new surface finds of artefacts and fossils, and new exposures. 4. Using the case study at Happisburgh to investigate and monitor other coastal exposures for a broader regional study of the Cromer Forest-bed Formation on the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts.

Report Number:
Research Report
Environmental Studies Geoarchaeology Palaeolithic Coastal


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