Witham and the surrounding area of central Essex has a long history. There are old defensive earthworks at Chipping Hill, and remnants of Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and later occupations have all been documented in the area (see, e.g., Rodwell, 1993; Gyford, 1999).
2. The flint: Local flint cobbles exhibit a range of grey to black tints when fresh, below the mm-scale white weathering rind (`cortex'). It is readily available in local fields and gravel pits, and would have been an immediately attractive choice as a building material. It is very hard, yet sufficiently brittle that it breaks with moderately flat faces and a signature conchoidal fracture. This cobble, spied low in the church wall, is fractured, with a waxy sheen, a bluish surface colour (not unusual in flints) and a thin channel, possibly a relict burrow (`trace fossil') in the former sea floor.
"Rock of the Month # 34, posted April 2004"
--- copies of digital images recorded on the 6th of this month.
GYFORD,J (1999) Public Spirit: Dissent in Witham and Essex, 1500-1700. Owl Printing Company, Tollesbury, Essex, 216pp.
LEWIS,SG, WHITEMAN,CA and PREECE,RC (editors) (2000) The Quaternary of Norfolk & Suffolk, Field Guide. Quaternary Research Association, London, 242pp.
LUCY,G (1999) Essex Rock, a Look Beneath the Essex Landscape. Essex Rock and Mineral Society, 128pp.
PALOMO,A and GIBAJA,JF (2006) Pervivencias del uso del silex en época moderna y contemporánea. Revista de arqueologia del siglo XXI no.297, 34-41 (in Sp.), 31 January. This article has some interesting photographs on the working and uses of flint, including the two images of the church in Chipping Hill.
RODWELL,W (1993) The Origins and Early Development of Witham, Essex: A Study in Settlement and Fortification, Prehistoric to Medieval. Oxbow Books, Oxford, Oxbow Monograph 26, 128pp
ULLYOTT,JS, NASH,DJ and SHAW,PA (1998) Recent advances in silcrete research and their implications for the origin and palaeoenvironmental significance of sarsens. Proc.Geol.Assoc. 109, 255-270.
Visit the Turnstone "Rock of the Month" Archives (e.g., chert: items 16, 23, 24)!
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