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Trafalgar Square



Site Number 280
Nearest Town: London
National Grid Reference: TQ300803
Lat: 51.507 Lon: -0.128

Trafalgar Square seems an incongruous place to find ‘Ice Age’ mammal bones. Yet beneath Nelson’s Column and Admiralty Arch are fossil-rich deposits of the ‘Upper Floodplain Terrace’ deposited by the Thames during the Last Interglacial, about 120, 000 years ago. Most of the discoveries were made fortuitously during excavations for basements in buildings surrounding Trafalgar Square and in several other places around Pall Mall and St. James’s Square. Here the terrace deposits are up to 9 metres deep; they extend below modern sea level and are made up of layers of gravel, sand and silts interspersed with thinner seams rich in plant fossils. Aquatic molluscs are abundant in the sandier horizons and indicate faster-flowing water in the main channel. The channel and its backwaters were bordered by rushes and sedges, with extensive open grassland on the floodplain that provided forage for hippopotamus and other grazing large mammals. Scattered trees including oak, pine, birch ... [read more]

Horizons recorded at Trafalgar Square

Unit Name Epoch Biozone MIS
Terrace deposits (Horz Num: 298) Late Pleistocene Joint Mitnor Cave MAZ 5e

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