chapter  2
21 Pages

The First Endeavours: Palaeolithic Man in the South West

The area of Europe of which Britain is a part lay at the north-western extremity of the Palaeolithic world. It is, in truth, both difficult and misleading to use the term ‘Britain’ at all within the confines of this immensely long period, for at times the land with which we are now familiar formed part of a large peninsula of the European land-mass, considerable parts of what is now the North Sea and the English Channel being dry land, while at others it was an island or a group of islands. Again, for long periods ice-sheets covered most of northern and midland Britain and extremely cold periglacial conditions obtained in the south. In other periods, the land lay in a sub-tropical zone and was the home of flora and fauna which are now to be found in latitudes three thousand miles to the south. All this has a bearing not only on the way the subject is studied but also, and more profoundly, on the survival of the evidence.