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The Observatory Gravels and the Travellers’ Rest Pit, Cambridge, England

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Gibbard, PL 
West, RG 


An examination of the past descriptions of the Pleistocene Observatory Gravels and the sediments of the Travellers’ Rest Pit of north-west Cambridge has illustrated their relation to the local landscape in terms of sediments and age. The Travellers’ Rest Pit sediments, which include gravels and ‘loams’, represent aggradation and alluviation/colluviation in a former drainage way which resulted from diversion to the west of the Cam valley drainage by glaciation in the Fenland in the Late Wolstonian Stage. The drainage way may have carried both Cam valley catchment waters and proglacial waters. The Travellers’ Rest Pit gravels and ‘loams’ now lie on a ridge of Gault and Chalk Marl. The Observatory Gravels occur on the western slope of this ridge, at a lower level than the sediments of the Travellers’ Rest Pit, and are associated with the incision of the Washpit Brook valley, on Gault Formation bedrock to the west of the Observatory slope, at a later date. The periglacial ground-ice structures and palaeontology of the Travellers’ Rest Pit sediments are described, The Palaeolithic archaeology contained within the sequence, bears comparison with Palaeolithic finds elsewhere in Late Wolstonian proglacial gravels of the Fenland margins.



37 Earth Sciences, 3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 3705 Geology, 13 Climate Action

Journal Title

Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society

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Volume Title


Geological Society of London