Hi- so this is my first post- I’m Charlie btw- I’m a history student at Essex Univeristy and this is my blog as I try to research the history around the Grays Chalk Quarry and the old Brick Pit. As a kid my grandmother used to tell me old stories about the area, finding strange bones, people going missing etc- the usual sort of fairystories and old-wives tales, but I guess that started my fascination in archaeology, palaeontology and history in general- but most importantly, the old Grays site. Now my Dad is a supervisor with Gordon Lee Construction and a few weeks ago his crew were offered a contract to do some work down at Lakeside, and he says a lot of the old-boys refused to take the shift. They wouldn’t say why- but just out-right refused to take it. Needless to say it got handed to another crew.
But then, I was reading an old journal at uni from a dig around 1860- and it detailed all of the finds that the expedition made, but then about half way through it looked like someone had tried to tear a page out- the remaining bit just said “Wednesday, July 13th, Meeson is insistant …………………..too many..fellow…vanish…..such horrific….. I pray to God”– at least thats what I could make out- the handwriting was pretty shite. I don’t know what to make of it really, but it can’t hurt to dig a bit can it?
Posted 15th May 2017
The Plot (well, Chalk) Thickens…
Ok- so I’ve been doing a bit of research and turns out that the ‘Meeson’ in the notebook could be Richard Meeson- his family owned the chalk quarry and also the neighbouring Titan Quarry- seems he tried to dig a tunnel to connect the two sites. It was here the really interesting bits were found- bones, artifacts and fossils dating back the Pleistocene Epoch (thats the Ice Age if you’re not into your deep history)- in fact- it’s the biggest single source of Ice Age fossils in Europe. Exciting stuff (for geeks like me). There was even a FULL Inoceramus shell- think a huge sea shell- about 1.8m tall- that’s amazing! There were bones of Mammoths, Brown Bears, Monkeys and even some types of human- seems Essex was quite the hub back then! Who’d have thought that 300,000 years ago Grays would have had Rhinos wandering about!!
Posted 22nd May 2017
Today I learnt (if that’s spelt right) something a bit interesting- one of the distant human species (Homo Heidelbergensis- one of the possible great-granddaddies of our species Homo sapiens sapiens) was around the area at the time as the Ice Age fossils. Remains of flint tools have been dated, and a discovery in 2005 showed a close relationship with rodents- water vole teeth were found alongside many of the fossils. Who Knew?? Granddaddy Heidelberg died around 300,000 years ago- presumably cross-breeding with some other species, along with his little rat-buddies. That species didn’t survive the Ice Age either.
RIP Mimomys savini
Posted 28th May 2017
Location Location Location
So- rumour has it that the works downat Lakeside have started- from what Dad has said I think it must be this unit on the second floor:
Wasn’t that an old fast food place?
Posted 6th June 2017
Final assignment for the year is FINALLY in- less than a week late too! -almost ready to vanish somewhere sunny and bake myself bronze for a few weeks. The hunt for the secrets of the quarry can be put on hold. Disappointingly, it would appear, despite the grumblings of my Dad’s crew- the twilight zone hasn’t opened in unit 260 yet.
Posted 21st June 2016
And… I’m back. A great few weeks of sun, sand and …. yeah whatever.
Got back to some good news though- seems like the Gordon Lee boys have been very busy- they’ve broken through the floor of the unit and found a few fossils of their own! What’s even more exciting is that they seem to look like Mimomys teeth- hard to tell from the photo Dad sent me though as whoever took it messed up the scale reference and made it look like the animal was the size of a lion! At least they tried.
Heard a rumour that there might be a position on the work-crew as a junior- seems the last lad couldn’t hack it and vanished off site half-way through the shift yesterday. Told Dad to put me forward- worth it to try to do a bit of excavation myself!
Posted 3rd August 2017