The J J Wymer Archive

Lorraine Mepham, 2008

Data copyright © Lorraine Mepham unless otherwise stated

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John Wymer's eight Field Note Books cover the period from 1949 to 2004, and contain detailed handwritten notes of site visits and artefacts, both in the UK and elsewhere, including lengthy visits to South Africa. They include hand drawings (sketch maps and section drawings) and photographs. Their importance cannot be overstated - they constitute a unique record of the lifetime's work of Britain's foremost specialist in Palaeolithic archaeology. As a personal record the books give a fascinating insight into John's archaeological career, but they are also an invaluable archaeological resource, giving details of stratigraphy, geology and finds from many sites of international significance (e.g. Swanscombe, Hoxne, Klasies River Mouth).

The digital archive consists of:

Volume 1 (1949-1952): includes catalogues of flints from various sites, and records of early field trips in East Anglia, Kent (including Swanscombe) and Surrey.

Volume 2 (1952-1953): field trips in East Anglia, Kent, Surrey and Berkshire (including Furze Platt).

Volume 3 (1954-1959): continuing work at Swanscombe, including the remarkable discovery of human skull fragments in 1955. By this time Wymer was working at Reading Museum, and his field trips focused on Berkshire (the first excavation seasons at Thatcham), Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. He also visited the Palaeolithic sites of the Dordogne.

Volume 4 (1959-1963): continuing excavation at Thatcham, and another trip to the Dordogne. Field trips continued in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Volume 5 (1963-1970): more field trips around the middle Thames Valley, and an extended trip to South Africa in 1965-6, visiting sites such as Elandsfontein and Klasies River Mouth.

Volume 6 (1971-1977): Wymer moved back to Norfolk, and renewed visits to sites across East Anglia; excavation started at Hoxne, Suffolk in 1971.

Volume 7 (1978-1996): excavations continued at Hoxne. Southern Rivers Project initiated 1991, cataloguing Palaeolithic sites south of the Thames and Severn; scope widened to national survey in The English River Project (TERPS) in 1994.

Volume 8 (1996-2004): completion of TERPS field visits in 1996; continuing field trips around East Anglia.

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