The Devon Karst Research Society.
The Society's Homepages for the
Cattedown, Plymouth, Devon, England, U.K.

Link Page for Table of Simplified Geological (British Isles Holocene and Pleistocene), Environmental and Archaeological Comparative Time Chart
and supporting information.

Text Revised 11 July 2007.

Webpage Contents :
Section 2.  Correlation of the Quaternary Record in the British Isles and Europe.
Section 3.  General Notes on Faunal Occurrences and Extinctions through the Pleistocene & Holocene.
Section 4.  General Notes on Some Geological Type Localities (Stratotypes) for the British Pleistocene & Holocene.
Section 5.  General Notes on Glacials, Interglacials, Stadials & Interstadials.
Section 6Recommended Websites for Further Study.
Section 7Bibliography & Further Reading.

Click on the underlined Links.above to move down to the Sections quickly.


1.  The abbreviated Terms AD =  "Anno Domini" and BC =  "Before Christ", as used in the UK., are approximate indicatives only.
The abbreviation BP =  "Before the Present" is a dating baseline referring to "before the Radiocarbon Year 1950 AD."
2.  Geological Dates, for the most part, can be ascertained using different methodologies. Different methods do not necessarily arrive at the same Dates. The Dates below are, therefore, approximate indicators only.
3.  There is also widespread disagreement as to where the base of the Pleistocene should be placed. For example, Alister and Ian Cruickshanks (2003) place the Baventian - Waltonian into the Pliocene!
4.   In Column 8., we have also included notes, where relevant, to the appearance and disappearance of hominins as evidenced from current interpretation of fossil finds around the world.


British Isles
Geological Time Period / 
Stratigraphical System
British Isles 
Geological Epoch / 
Stratigraphical Series
British Isles
Geological Age /
Stratigraphical Stages &
British Isles
Prevailing Climate
British Isles
Prevailing Sea Levels
(relative to modern O.D.)
British Isles
PrevailingFlora & Fauna
British Isles 
Caves with Ossiferous Deposits
+ Vertebrates representative of
the Geological Date or Cultural
British Isles 
Archæological / Cultural Period
Approximate Geological
Dates & Duration (years)
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
- Significant global warming. Sea Levels Rising
with the melting of the Polar Ice Regions.
contemporary, minus faunal extinctions due to anthropogenic activities. - Modern - (contemporary). 21st Century AD
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
- Warm
1969 - 1999 average warmth increase
1950 - 1968 average warmth decrease
1850 - 1940 average warmth increase
with the rate of rising beginning to slowly accelerate in 2nd half of 20th Century.
contemporary, minus faunal extinctions due to anthropogenic activities. - Modern - (pre-contemporary)
Industrial Revolution to Electronic Age
& beginning of Space Age
1999 - 1800 AD
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
- Warm
1350 - 1700 = "little ice age"
Rising modern contemporary, minus extinctions due to anthropogenic activities. - Post-medieval 1500 - 1800 AD
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
- Warm
1100 - 1300 Medieval warm period

1300 AD Climatic deterioration set in.

Rising - - Medieval 1066 - 1500 AD
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
- Warm Rising - - Early-medieval ca. 420 - 1066 AD
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
- Warm Rising modern contemporary, 
with exotic additions 
due to anthropogenic activities.
Numerous locations throughout the UK., with examples at :
- Badger Hole, Wookey.
- Beeston Tor Cave, Peak District.
- Lesser Garth Cave, S. Wales.
- Many Caves at Cresswell Crags.
- Minchin Hole, Gower.
- Ossum's Eyrie Cave, Manifold Valley.
- Victoria Cave, Settle.
- Wookey Hole, Mendip.
Romano-British 43 - 420 AD
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
2 500 BP / 500 BC 
climatic deterioration

Warm but cooling

Flandrian Transgression
increase of Ash, Birch,

decline of Lime.

- Kent's Cavern, Torquay. Iron Age ca. 800 BC - 43 AD
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
Flandrian Transgression
increase of Ash, Birch, 

decline of Lime.

- Three Holes Cave, Torbryan.
Homo sapiens, [OxA-3210]
14C = 1,540 y BP

- Shelter Cave, Kitley.
Homo sapiens, [OxA-7186]
14C = 3,140 y BP

- Plateau Rift, Torbryan.
Middle Bronze Age burial.
14C = 3,230 y BP

- Kent's Cavern, Torquay.
Homo sapiens, [OxA-1787]
14C = 3,560 y BP

Bronze Age ca. 4000 - 800 BC
Quaternary   Holocene
(Post Glacial)
Flandrian Transgression
Mixed Oak forests 
with decline of Elm.

Wolf, Brown Bear, 

- Three Holes Cave, Torbryan. (on charcoal). [I-549]
14C = 4,450 y BP

- Tornewton Cave, Torbryan.
Homo sapiens,
(tooth), [OxA-5864]
14C = 4,680 y BP

- Broken Cavern, Torbryan.
Homo sapiens,
(tooth), [OxA-3206]
14C = 4,885 y BP 

- Bob's Hole, Kitley.
Homo sapiens, [OxA-4983]
14C = 5,035 y BP

Neolithic ca. 6 000 - 4 000 BP
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)
[6 000 - 5 500 BP Flandrian climatic optimum, with annual mean temperatures about  2 - 3°C above the present July-August temperatures.]
Flandrian Transgression
First Human farming communities - Tornewton Cave, Torbryan. Mesolithic 6 000 BP
Quaternary Holocene
(Post Glacial)

At 7 000 y BP.,
Mainland Britain becomes isolated
from continental Europe.

[Based on Pollen analysis 
this began 
10 200 BP - 10 300 BP.]


[Loch Lomond re-advance.]
9 500 - 9 000 BP.


Flandrian Transgression
Meso clearance;
Mixed Oak forests 
with Hazel, Pine & Birch.

Wolf, Brown Bear, 
Reindeer, Lynx.


- Kent's Cavern, Torquay.
Homo sapiens, [OxA 1786]
14C = 8,070 y BP

- 3rd Bone Cave, Oreston.
Homo sapiens,
(possibly contaminated)
14C = 8,615 y BP

- Tornewton Cave, Torbryan.

- Dog Hole Fissure, Creswell Crags. Lynx lynx, [OxA-8737.]
14C = 9,570 ± 60 y BP.

Mesolithic ca. 10 250 - 6 000 BP
Quaternary Holocene Base Holocene Base Holocene Base Holocene Base Holocene Base Holocene Base Holocene Base 10 250 BP (14C )
Quaternary Upper Pleistocene Late or Upper
(Last Glaciation)

[Loch Lomond Stadial.]
11 000 - 10 200 BP

[Windermere Interstadial.]
13 000 BP

[Dimlington Stadial.]
26 000 - 13 000 BP

with permafrost and glacial deposits confirmed.

(maximum extent of Ice)
25 000 - 16 000 BP
was the period of the Late Glacial Maximum.


Low Sea Level
but rising;
-40 m. (-131 feet)


Low Sea Level;
-80 m. (-262 feet)

Low Sea Level
and falling;
26 000 BP

Park Tundra with 
Betula & Pine.

Wild Horse.

 - Ice Sheets and polar desert -

Arctic Hare, 
Arctic Reindeer, 
Wolf, Pole Cat, Beaver.
Cave Bear.

Birch & Pine

- Mother Grundy's Parlour, Creswell Crags, Equus ferus, [OxA-8738.] 
14C = 11,970 ± 75 y BP
and another [OxA-8739.] 
14C = 12,170 ± 80 y BP.

- Victoria Cave, Settle.
- Tornewton Cave, Torbryan.
- Kent's Cavern, Torquay.

- Church Hole, Creswell Crags, Lepus timidus, [OxA-4108.]
14C = 12,110 ± 120 y BP

 - Cattedown Reindeer Rift Cave, Plymouth.
Rangifer tarandus, [BM729.]
14C = 15,150 ± 390 y BP

-  Paviland Cave, S. Wales.
Homo sapiens, [BM374.]
14C = 18,460 ± 340 y BP

Late Upper Palaeolithic

Mid-Upper Palaeolithic

Early Upper Palaeolithic

ca. 12 000 - 8 300 BP

ca. 23 000 - 12 000 BP

ca. 28 000 - 23 000 BP

Quaternary Upper Pleistocene Lower (Early) to Middle
(Last Glaciation)

with permafrost and glacial deposits confirmed.

[Chelford Interstadial.]
65 000 - 59 000 BP

with permafrost and glacial deposits confirmed.


Low Sea Level
-40 m. (-131 feet)
maximum 'high'.


50 000 BP
Low Sea Level
fluctuating from -80 m (-262 feet)
on 2 occasions to -20m. (-66 feet)
on 3 occasions

Sub-Arctic Tundra;
Northern Coniferous Forests.

 - Ice Sheets and polar desert -

Spotted Hyaena 
(adapted to the cooling climate)
Arctic Reindeer, 
Woolly Rhinoceros, Woolly Mammoth, 
Horse, Arctic Reindeer, 
Red Deer, Giant Deer, 
Cave Lion, Wolf,
Narrow-skulled Vole, 
Pole Cat, Bison.

 - Ice Sheets and polar desert -

Boreal Forest, Birch, Pine, Spruce.

- Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave, Plymouth
- Oreston Caves, Plymouth,
- Tornewton Cave and
- Torcourt Cave, Torbryan.
- Levaton Cave, Levaton.
- Brixham Cave, Brixham.

- Kent's Cavern, Torquay.
Homo sapiens, [OxA-1621]
14C = 30,900 y BP
(Atomic Mass Spectrometry)

- Hyaena Den, Wookey.
- Paviland Cave, S. Wales.

- Pin Hole, Creswell Crags,
Rangifer tarandus, [OxA-3406.] 
14C = 37,450 ± 1050 y BP. 
and another [OxA-3417.]

Middle Palaeolithic

[at about 30 000 y BP
Homo neanderthalensis disappears.]

[at about 40 000 y BP
Homo sapiens appears.]

ca. 70 000 - 28 000 BP
Quaternary Upper Pleistocene IPSWICHIAN
(Last Interglacial)
Temperate / Warm / Hot

[Pollen analysis indicates that the Ipswichiian climatic optimum had annual mean temperatures about 
2 - 3°C above the Flandrian and post-Glacial mean temperatures.]


115 000 BP
max of  +15 m. (49 feet)

Rising Sea Level
(Britain becomes isolated again)

Birch, Pine, Oak, Elm, 
Hazel, Hornbeam,
Maple (Acer monospessulanum), 
Water Chestnut (Trapa natans).

Hippopatamus, Hyaena, Bison,
Aurochs, Hare, Red Deer,
Cave Lion, Pond Tortoise,
Straight-tusked Elephant, 
Narrow-nosed Rhinoceros,
Wolf, Pig, Giant Deer,
Fallow Deer, Fox, Wild Cat, 
Spotted Hyaena, 
Badger, Brown Bear.

Birch & Pine;

- Worth's Cattedown Bone Cave, Plymouth.
- Tornewton Cave, Torbryan.
- Eastern Torrs Quarry Cave, Yealmpton.

- Joint Mitnor Cave, Buckfastleigh, (warmest part of the Interglacial.)

- Minchin Hole, S. Wales.
- Milton Hill Cave, Somerset.
- Durdham Down Cave, Bristol.
- Bacon Hole, S. Wales.
- Ravenscliff Cave, S. Wales.
- Cefn Cave, North Wales.
- Hoe Grange Cave, Derbyshire.
- Kirkdale Cave, Kirkdale.
- Victoria Cave, Settle.
- Mother Grundy's Parlour, Creswell Crags.

Middle Palaeolithic

[at about 100 000 y BP
Homo heidelbergensis disappears.]

ca. 128 000 - 70 000 BP
Quaternary Upper Pleistocene WOLSTONIAN
Glacial Complex
(Penultimate Glaciation
- includes the temperate
Cold / Warm
with permafrost and glacial deposits confirmed.
18O² / 16O²  ratios in stalagmite indicate a slow 
rise in temperature by 4°C between
130 000 and 120 000 BP
Low Sea Level Grasses, Sedges.

Woolly Mammoth,  Woolly Rhinoceros, 
Wolf, Horse, Reindeer, Badger,
Cave Lion, Horse, Wolverine, 
Steppe Lemming, Collared Lemming, 
Brown Bear, Hamster, Clawless Otter, 
Snow Vole, Mountain Hare.

Tornewton Cave, Torbryan. Lower Palaeolithic ca. 200 000 - 128 000 BP
Quaternary Middle Pleistocene HOXNIAN
Temperate Rising Sea Levels
but below the present O.D.
Birch, Pine, Alder, Oak, Silver Fir.
Hippopotamus, Steppe Rhinoceros, Woodland Rhinoceros, Cave Bear, Cave Lion, Horse, Straight-tusked Elephant, Beaver, Fallow Deer, Dolphin.
Spruce, Betula, Pinus.
Kent's Cavern, Torquay.
Ursus spelaeus.
Lower Palaeolithic

[at about 200 000 y BP
Homo neanderthalensis appears.]

ca. 250 000 - 200 000 BP
Quaternary Middle Pleistocene ANGLIAN
Very Cold
with permafrost and glacial deposits confirmed from the
debris of large ice sheets extending down into East Anglia. The greatest of all the Pleistocene Glacials.
[Corton Interstadial.]
Low Sea Levels - Ice Sheets
and Periglacial polar desert -
Steppe Tundra with Grasses, Sedges,
Sea Buckthorn, Birch.
Red Deer, Ground Squirrel.
Kent's Cavern, Torquay. Lower Palaeolithic ca. 350 000 - 250 000 BP
Quaternary Middle Pleistocene CROMERIAN 
Temperate Rising Sea Levels Birch, Pine, Spruce, mixed Oak forest.
Bison, Horse, Hyaena, Sabre-toothed (Scimitar) Cat, Deninger's Bear - Cave Bear, Wolf, Hippopotamus, 
Etruscan Rhinoceros, Mammoth,
Desman, Leopard, Beaver, Hamster,
Horse, Giant Deer, Fallow Deer, Cormorant.
- Kent's Cavern, Torquay.
Homotherium latidens.
- Kent's Cavern, Torquay.
Ursus deningeri.
500 000 y BP.

- Kent's Cavern, Torquay.

> 350 000 y BP.
(Uranium-series Dating).
Lower Palaeolithic

[at about 400 000 y BP
Homo heidelbergensis appears.]

[at about 400 000 y BP
Homo erectus disappears.]

ca. 524 000 - 350 000 BP
Quaternary Middle Pleistocene BEESTONIAN
Cold Stage
with permafrost confirmed.
Low Sea Levels Dwarf Birch, Dwarf Willows, Saxafrages, Mountain Sorrel,
Deninger's Bear.
- Lower Palaeolithic ca. 524 000 - 600 000 BP
Quaternary Middle Pleistocene PASTONIAN
Temperate ? Oak & Pine Woodland
- Lower Palaeolithic ca. 600 000 - 800 000 BP
Quaternary Middle Pleistocene [PRE-PASTONIAN] Cold / Warm / Cold - - - - ca. 800 000 - 1 300 000 BP
Quaternary Lower Pleistocene BAVENTIAN
with permafrost confirmed.
- - [Baventian Clay Formation] Lower Palaeolithic ca. 1 300 000 -
1 600 000 BP
Quaternary Lower Pleistocene ANTIAN
Temperate - - [Norwich Crag Formation.] .
Lower Palaeolithic

[at about 1 600 000 y BP
Homo erectus appears.]

ca. 1 600 000 -
1 700 000 BP
Quaternary Lower Pleistocene THURNIAN Cold - - - Lower Palaeolithic ca. 1 700 000 -
1 750 000 BP
Quaternary Lower Pleistocene LUDHAMIAN
Temperate - - - Lower Palaeolithic ca. 1 750 000 -
1 800 000 BP
Quaternary Lower Pleistocene WALTONIAN Temperate - Cold - - - Lower Palaeolithic ca. 1 800 000 -
2 500 000 BP
ca. 2 500 000 BP max.
Tertiary Pliocene ZANCLIAN - - - - - ca. 2 500 000 -
5 300 000 BP
2.  Correlation of the Quaternary Record in the British Isles and Europe.
Climatic curves for parts of the Tertiary and Quaternary Periods, calculated from various types of data from various global positions.
Use this data in the opposite cell only as a guideline. Note that the Timescales on the vertical axes in each cell varies.
The Units for the different values in each cell are given on the horizontal axes at the top.

Climatic curves for parts of the Tertiary and Quaternary.
(i)Fossil Data from New Zealand, (after Devereux, 1967);..(ii) Pollen Data from the Netherlands and East Anglia, UK., (after Zagwijn, 1974);
(iii)Foraminiferal Data from Caribbean deep-sea cores, (after Hayes et al, 1976);..(iv)Ice Core Data from Camp Century, Greenland,
(after Dansgaard et al, 1971);..(v) Foraminiferal Data from a deep-sea core off Ireland, (after Sancetta et al 1973);
(vi) Beetle Data from Britain, (after Coope, 1975);
(vii).Curves showing Oxygen-18 Isotope values, (a measure of the Oxygen Isotope ratio 18O / 16O), are plotted so that deflections to the right
correspond to a warming climate. All dates are given as BP.

Mio. = Miocene;...Plio. = Pliocene;...Pleist. = Pleistocene;...Dev. = Devensian;...Cl. = Chelford Interstadial;
UWI. = Upton Warren Interstadial;...WI = Windermere Interstadial.

[A sea-level curve is in preparation.]

[Return to Top of Page]

3.  General Notes on Faunal Occurrences and Extinctions through the Pleistocene and Holocene.
For any author who undertakes the task of presenting scientific information in the form of generalities, the job is often fraught with the possibilities of mis-interpretation by the reader. Even worse than being "un-useful", such generalities can inadvertantly imply a situation that did not exist. In presenting the above information on this web-page, we are are bound to warn you against using any of the information as absolute descriptive fact for any given geographical location within the British Isles. For example, the flora / fauna combinations found in the British Isles - even today - will vary greatly from geographical location to location. To illustrate this quite clearly, the flora that can grow in the almost sub-tropical climate of the Isles of Scilly in the far south west could never grow in the north of Scotland. For many types of faunal species, it is not just the question of how hot or cold that a given location may be, but the availability of food - most often represented by the flora -  that determines whether or not they will populate a region. 
Extend this factual observation into the distant past and through the ever-changing climatic regimes of the Pleistocene. It has always been the case, whether during a glacial or interglacial period, or indeed when gradually entering or leaving a glacial or interglacial period, when the climate changes so dramatically that the flora (= food) regime changes or disappears completely, the faunal populations either migrate away or, if trapped by a combination of prevailing geographical and geological circumstances, will quickly die out and become extinct from that location or region. Eventually, this also has a similar impact on the faunal species who are predominantly carnivorous, rather than vegetarian or omnivorous in their diets. At any given time before, during or after the peaks and troughs of the dramatic climatic changes of the Pleistocene, a range of ecological situations would have occurred across the geographical range of what is now the BrItish Isles. 
Consider also that for some prolonged periods of time during the Glaciations, when a larger proportion of the Earth's water was land-locked in the form of glacial ice than is presently the case, the sea level was much lower, sometimes by more than 100 metres, during which times the area of the British Isles was joined with what we now call the European Mainland or Continental Europe by a continuous stretch of dry land. Consider the situation of the faunal species at the times when the land-bridge was just forming or, even more critically if you were on the west side, when the land-bridge was just breaking by the falling or rising sea-levels, respectively. Similarly consider the options for the primates who had migrated north from the direction of central and southern Europe at a time of low to rising sea-level and who finally became unknowingly isolated on the territory that we call the British Isles.
So, in brief, the British Isles during the Pleistocene has probably witnessed both slow, long-term evolutionary changes and short-term localised changes as a result of climatic fluctuations.

3.1.  Examples of Cold Stage Faunas :
Of the faunas from the Cold Stages, examples are known from the Wolstonian and Devensian Glacials and are characterised by the presence of :-

.....Woolly Mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach); Elephas primigenius;
.....Woolly Rhinoceros, Coelodonta antiquitatis (Blumenbach);
.....Arctic Reindeer, Rangifer tarandus (Linn);
.....Giant Deer, Megaceros giganteus (Blumenbach);
.....Musk Ox, Ovibos moschatus;
.....Collared or Arctic Lemming, Dicrostonyx torquatus (Pallas);
[Note : The arctic or collared lemming is a common species of cold stage small mammal faunas in the Late Pleistocene. They are particularly abundant right at the end of the Pleistocene in deposits with radiocarbon dates of a little over 10,000 y BP.
Their abundance at the end of the Pleistocene is probably linked to extensive soft snow cover at this time.]
.....Norwegian Lemming, Lemmus lemmus (Linn);
.....Steppe Lemming, Lagurus lagurus (Pallas);
.....Dicrostonyx henseli;
.....Spotted Hyaena, Crocuta crocuta (Erxleben);
.....Cave Lion, Panthera spelaea (Goldfuss);
.....Brown Bear, Ursus Arctos (Linn).
[Note :  Bears were a major predator during the Pleistocene and could grow to an enormous size.]
.....Wolverine (also known as Glutton), Gulo gulo, (Linn);
.....Grey Wolf, Canis lupus, (Linn);
.....Narrow-skulled Vole, Microtus gregalis, (Pallas);
.....Snow Vole, Microtus gregaloides, (Hinton);
.....Root Vole, Microtus oeconomus, (Pallas);
.....Vole (extinct), Pitymys nivalis, (Martins);
.....Clawless Otter, Aonyx antiqua;
.....Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus;
.....Wild Horse, Equus ferus;
.....Ermine, Mustela erminea.

Sometimes, the Horse, Equus caballus, and Bison are present, probably indicating conditions better described as steppe rather than tundra, although a mixture of both steppe and tundra animals is characteristic of cold stage faunas.

Of great importance in differentiating the stratigraphic sequences between the Wolstonian and Devensian Cold Stages are the faunal indicators (reflecting the climatic conditions) provided by the fossilized remains of the small mammals. The small mammals are more accurate climate indicators than are the large ones, being unable as they are to tolerate changes as easily as the larger mammals. In the Tornewton Cave at Torbryan, the cave deposits of the stratigraphically lower Cold Stage (Wolstonian) are characterized by the Steppe Lemming and the Snow Vole, both of which are absent in the stratigraphically upper Cold Stage (Devensian) cave deposits, where they are replaced by the Narrow-skulled Vole. (These species are now extinct in the British Isles). Separating the cave deposits of these two Cold Stages in the same cave is an Interglacial (Ipswichian) sequence of deposits containing Hippopotamus.

3.2.  Examples of Warmest Stage Faunas :
Of the faunas from the Warmest Stages, examples are known from the Ipswichian Interglacial and are characterised by the presence of :-

.....Hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius, (Linn).
[Note :..Abundant remains of the hippopotamus are one of the characteristic features of the warmest part of the Last Interglacial. Their presence in Britain is a reflection of the rapid warming of climate in the Last Interglacial.]
.....Straight-tusked Elephant, Palaeoloxodon antiquus, (Falconer and Cautley);
.....Narrow-nosed Rhinoceros, Dicerorhinus hemitoechus, (Falconer);
.....Wild Boar (Pig), Sus scrofa, (Linn);
.....Giant Deer, Megaceros giganteus, (Blumenbach);
.....Red Deer, Cervus elaphus, (Linn);
.....Fallow Deer, Dama dama, (Linn);
.....Roe Deer, Cervus capreolus;
.....Bison, Bison priscus, (Bojanus);
.....Mountain Hare, Lepus sp.
.....Grey Wolf, Canis lupus, (Linn);
.....Red Fox, Vulpes vulpes, (Linn);
.....Wild Cat, Felis silvestris, (Schreber);
.....Cave Lion, Panthera spelaea, (Goldfuss);
.....Spotted Hyaena, Crocuta crocuta, (Erxleben);
.....Striped Hyaena, Hyaena striata;
.....Badger, Meles meles, (Linn);
.....Lynx, Lynx lynx;
[Note :..This animal provides an indication of how quickly forest conditions had become re-established after the end of the Last Cold Stage 10,000 years ago.]

3.3.  Faunal Extinctions during the Devensian Ice Age :
The presence of the characteristic large mammals of the Ipswichian Interglacial did not carry through and survive the Devensian Glacial into the post-Glacial Flandrian and the fauna is reduced mostly to what we see today, excluding the exotica introduced by the Romans and by modern Man. Some species that did survive were much reduced in size, such as the Red Deer Cervus elaphus. The Spotted Hyaena, Crocuta crocuta, an animal much larger than any of today's hyaenas, (fossil skeletal evidence supports that they were up to 3 times bigger than the modern day survivors),, so prevalent throughout the Ipswichian Interglacial, managed to adapt to the cooling conditions leading into the Devensian Glacial and continued to flourish in great numbers. Sadly, this amazing carnivorous mammal did not survive the harshest conditions of the Glacial peak when food was at a minimum level and it became extinct.
Another fantastic mammal, the Woolly Mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, also did not survive the peak of the Devensian Glacial in the British Isles and is thought to have become extinct at about 11 000 y BP., although one population of mammoths lived on in isolation on Russia's remote Wrangel Island until about 5,000 years ago.
Mammoths first appeared in the Pliocene Epoch, 4.8 million years ago. What caused their widespread disappearance at the end of the last Ice Age remains unclear; but climate change, overkill by human hunters, or a combination of both could have been to blame.

The Woolly Rhinoceros Coelodonta antiquitatis also became extinct at about 25 000 - 27 000 y BP. The large Cave Bear, Ursus spelaeus, also became extinct before the Devensian peak, probably due to competition with the more ubiquitous and smaller-sized Brown Bear. It is thought that the Cave Bear was an evolutionary development of the original Deninger's Bear, Ursus deningeri, with the appearance of the former taking place at about 300 000 y BP., and the two species co-existing thereafter until their eventual extinction.

3.4.  Holocene - Historical Extinctions of Survivors of the British pre-Glacial and Glacial Fauna :
-..Aurochs or Wild Cattle, (Bos taurus), became extinct around the early Bronze Age.
-..Extinctions are recorded of the British (Arctic) Reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, known well into historical times AD. as browsing on its speciality diet of "Reindeer Moss" (Cladonia rangiferina) in Northern Scotland. Indeed, the Arctic Reindeer is proved to have been living in Caithness as late as the year 1159 AD. as told in a passage of text in the Orkneyinga Saga. It seems to have disappeared at about the year 1200., probably having been hunted into extinction. The animal's heyday however, was at the end of the Last Glaciation, forming the staple diet of the hunting tribes. It invaded North America and the species still ranges over the circum-polar, a relict habitat. All the living and extinct forms of Woodland and Tundra Reindeer, both in the Old World and the New, are now regarded as one species - Rangifer tarandus. However, the great elegantly-curved antlers of the Pleistocene Reindeer are more reminiscent of the North American Caribou than of the present-day Scandinavian Reindeer with their angular antlers.
-..Other historical extinctions include :-
.....the native British Grey Wolf, Canis lupus, last recorded in Scotland in the late 17th century and in Ireland in the early 18th century; 
.....Beaver, Castor fiber, disappeared shortly after the 1st Crusade (12th-13th Century), although some reports say that the rodent was hunted to extinction at around the year 1500. In October 2005, six adults from Bavaria were released from quarantine as an experimental re-introduction of the species into the UK the Lower Mill Estate near South Cerney, Gloucestershire;
.....Pole Cat, Putorius vulgaris and Putorius foetidus;
.....Brown Bear, Ursus arctos, is thought to have become extinct between AD 500 - 900., although, according to Pennant, it infested the mountainous parts of Scotland as late as the year 1057. 
.....Wild Boar or Pig, Sus scrofa, was thought to have been hunted to extinction in Britain before the reign of Charles I. at around 1620 but certainly at sometime during the Medieval period;
.....Common Rat, Mus decumanus, arrived in Britain through the ports certainly before 1730 and have since nearly exterminated the indigenous Black Rat.
.....Red Deer, Cervus elaphus, was hunted to extinction at about 1780.

3.5.  Miscellaneous :
-..Bos longifrons, (otherwise known as the "Celtic Short-horn"), the Cervus elephas ("Stag"), continues to survive.

4.  General Notes on Some Geological Type Localities (Stratotypes) for the British Pleistocene and Holocene.
.....Flandrian :...Base of Pollen Zone IV.
.....Devensian :...Type Site is the Four Ashes Pit near Wolverhampton, England.
.....Ipswichian Interglacial :...Type Site is at Bobbitshole, in the Belstead Brook Valley near Ipswich, England.
.....Wolstonian :...Type Site is the Wolston Pit deposits, Wolston in Warwickshire, England.
.....Hoxnian Interglacial :...Type Site locality is in a brick pit at Hoxne in Suffolk, England.
.....Anglian :...Type Site is at Corton Cliff near Lowestoft, England.
.....Cromerian :...Type Site for the Cromer Forest Bed is at West Runton, Cromer, England.
.....Beestonian :...Type Site is at the Beeston Cliffs near Sherringham, England.
.....Pastonian :...Type Site is at the foreshore at Paston near Mundesley, England.
.....Baventian :...Type Site is at the cliffs of Easton Bavents, in England.
.....Ludhamian :...Type Site is the Ludham borehole, east of Wroxham, England.
.....Waltonian :...Type Site is a cliff at Walton-on-the-Naze, England.

The Pleistocene cycle of alternating cold or Glacial periods and warm Interglacial periods began about 2.4 millions years ago. There were about 20 major cold periods (Glacial Periods) which were separated by warmer periods (Interglacials). Some Glacial Periods were colder than others and some Interglacial Periods were hotter than others. The periodicity of the Glacials and Interglacials, together with their duration and intensity has varied greatly. However, at about 700 000 years ago, the Glacials became longer. The cycle involves a relatively brief interglacial period of 10 000 to 20 000 years duration and a glacial period of 60 000 to 80 000 years duration. Neither the Glacial nor the Interglacial Periods are of uniform temperature throughout and are not of uniform temperature progression into and out of their peaks. The temperature trend against the progress of time is often punctuated by comparatively short periods of temperature reversals. During the glacial periods, short intervals of between 500 to 2000 years of warm conditions often occurred. These are known as interstadials. During the Interglacial Periods, similar interruptions in the overall temperature trend are known as stadials.

Sea levels rise and fall corresponding to the amount of global water land-locked in the polar regions as ice. The sea level has been recorded as being as low as 370 feet (120 metres) below its present level.

Evidence obtained from the deep coring of the ice cap in Greenland has given valuable information about the climatic record of the last 130 000 years. Remarkably, the evidence from the cores indicates that the global warming which brings a glacial period to an end, can take place in a human lifetime!! The shift of the climate in the other direction from an interglacial to that of a glacial appears to take much longer and is in the order of a few thousands of years. The cores decisively indicate that "global cooling" is a far longer and more gradual process than is "global warming". The evidence also seems to indicate that the periodicity of the Glacials and the Interglacials is becoming shorter and more extreme in temperature minima and maxima respectively as a result.

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An illustrated webpage on an interesting Website, giving some very useful information about palaeo-anthropology.

An illustrated and very informative Website hosted by the Natural History Museum, (London), for the ANCIENT HUMAN OCCUPATION OF BRITAIN (AHOB) Project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This gives "state of the art" information about many aspects of climate, dating and chronological issues covered in the Cattedown Bone Caves Webpages. An emphasis is placed on OXYGEN ISOTOPE STAGE dating. This Website is well worth a visit and we recommend that you set aside several uninterrupted hours to read through the important issues covered.
Alternatively, go to the Natural History Museum's Website and click on the Link for the AHOB Project.

[more to follow]

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[ * denotes that the referenced bibliographic item is held in the Society's Library as a Stock Item.]

1.  BARHAM, L., PRIESTLEY, P. J. and TARGETT A,. (1999)   * "In Search of Cheddar Man." by Tempus Publishing Ltd., , [ISBN : 0 7524 1401 1.]
2.  BOWEN, D.Q., (1977)   * "Hot and Cold Climates in Prehistoric Britain." :  Geographical Magazine, August 1977., Vol. pp. 685-698. ........................
3.  BRANIGAN, K. and DEARNE, M.J., [Eds]. (1992)   * "Romano-British Cavemen - Cave Use in Roman Britain."
........................asOxbow Monograph 19. Published by Oxbow Books, Park End Place, OXFORD, OX1 1HN. [ISBN : 0 946897 43 3.]
4.  BURLEIGH, R., (1971)   * "Carbon-14 Dating - with application to dating of remains from caves." :  Studies in Speleology 2. (5)., pp. 176-190. pub. by William Pengelly Cave Studies Trust Ltd.
5.  KURTEN, B., (1968)   "Pleistocene Mammals of Europe."
........................London & Chicago.
6.  KURTEN, B., (1971)   "The Age of Mammals."
........................London & New York.
7.  MITCHELL G F. et al, (1973)   "A Correlation of Quaternary Deposits in the British Isles." by Geological Soc. London, as Special Report No. 4.
8.  WEST, R G., (1977)   * "Pleistocene Geology and Biology - with especial reference to the British Isles."
........................2nd edition, 440 + ix  pp., pub. by Longman Group Ltd., London.
9.  ZEUNER, F E., (1959)   "The Pleistocene Period, Its Climate, Chronology and Faunal Successions."
........................2nd edition, London.

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