Late Quaternary Environmental Change in North-west Europe: Excavations at Holywell Coombe, South-east England

  • R. C. Preece
  • D. R. Bridgland

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. R. C. Preece
      Pages 3-13
  3. Environmental Background

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. R. C. Preece, D. R. Bridgland
      Pages 17-29
  4. The Geology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 31-31
    2. R. C. Preece, D. R. Bridgland, M. J. Sharp
      Pages 33-68
    3. J. A. Catt, S. J. Staines
      Pages 69-105
  5. Radiocarbon Dating

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 107-107
    2. V. R. Switsur, R. A. Housley
      Pages 109-119
  6. Biostratigraphy and Palaeoecology

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 121-121
    2. K. D. Bennett, R. C. Preece
      Pages 123-148
    3. J. J. Blackford
      Pages 149-157
    4. R. C. Preece
      Pages 158-212
    5. G. R. Coope
      Pages 213-233
    6. J. Schelvis
      Pages 234-241
    7. J. E. Robinson
      Pages 242-253
    8. A. M. Lister, A. J. Stuart
      Pages 254-260
  7. The Prehistory of Holywell Coombe

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 261-261
    2. P. Bennett, S. Ouditt, J. Rady, A. Gibson, E. Healey, N. Macpherson-Grant
      Pages 263-314
  8. Present-day Ecology of the Folkestone Escarpment

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 315-315
  9. Synthesis

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 359-359
    2. R. C. Preece
      Pages 361-382
    3. R. C. Preece, D. R. Bridgland
      Pages 423-425
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 383-422

About this book


Holywell Coombe, an embayment in the chalk scarp overlooking Folkestone, Kent, was designated a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1985 because it contains richly fossiliferous Late Quaternary sediments providing a unique archive of the last 13,000 years.
The construction of the Channel Tunnel across the Holywell Coombe SSSI brought about a major rescue excavation, funded by Eurotunnel, that set an important precedent in Earth Science conservation. This multidisciplinary investigation has added enormously to our understanding of the environment and natural history of the Late-glacial and Holocene. The climatic complexity of the Late-glacial is recorded in the nature of the sediments, the fossils recovered from them and the soils developed within them.
From the Neolithic, and especially during the Early Bronze Age, the slopes were destabilized as a result of forest clearance, leading to the accumulation of hillwash. Archaeological excavations in the hillwash have revealed evidence of prehistoric occupation and agricultural activity in the coombe.
Eurotunnel also funded biological surveys of the local terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Combining these with the fossil evidence, it has been possible to document the pedigree of our present fauna and flora, providing one of the most detailed and comprehensive studies of its kind. With contributions from eminent Quaternary scientists from several countries, this work will be an important resource for researchers, lecturers and postgraduate students in Quaternary sciences - geology, geography, biology, ecology and archaeology - as well as for government bodies concerned with nature conservation and environmental protection.


Geomorphology Stratigraphy agriculture archaeology biology biostratigraphy ecology environment environmental protection forest geology history research sediment soil

Authors and affiliations

  • R. C. Preece
    • 1
  • D. R. Bridgland
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeEngland
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of Durham, Science LaboratoriesDurhamEngland

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1998
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-0-412-83230-7
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-4908-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site