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6 March 2014
Firefighter's persistence leads to Paleolithic find

A retired firefighter, aged 88, has had his persistence rewarded. Ron Settle was a firefighter in Guildford (UK) over 40 years ago. In his spare time, when he had previously lived in Dorking, he had studied archaeology at an evening institute. Ron put this knowledge to the test when he was transferred to Guildford Fire Station and he spotted what he thought were Stone Age flints around the fire service housing, where he lived.
     Although the finds were lodged with the Surrey Archaeological Society and exhibited in a local museum, the discoveries were never followed up. He did not give up, however, and when the fire station recently came up for demolition and rebuild, a dig was organized. Not only did they confirm the original Stone Age, Mesolithic finds but they also uncovered earlier Paleolithic flints.
     William Mills, from Oxford Archaeology, is excited about the finds and is quoted as saying "Most of the time you find it [the material] in caves, or in very disturbed environments, whereas here it's a very fine sand deposit, and therefore its quite pristine - what we call in situ - it hasn't moved much". He went on to say that the site was "quite exceptional. In Europe there are a handful of sites, not very many. In England this is one amongst two, maybe three, if that".

Edited from BBC News (14 January 2014)

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