Thursday, July 08, 2010

Norfolk Cannibals First UK Settlers?

This early model of Neanderthal, created for  the Panama-California
Exposition in 1915 probably more closely resembles the humans
who first settled Britain 950,000 years ago than Neanderthals
who are thought to have appeared in Europe as early as
600,000–350,000 years ago.  Photographed at the Museum of
Man in San Diego, California by Mary Harrsch.
Mammoths, rhinos, elephants, sabre-toothed cats, horses, elks, deer, voles, and hyenas as big as lions roamed the banks of the Thames almost a million years ago when the first humans settled in Britain near the modern village of  Happisburgh according to archaeologists who found on a treasure trove of flint tools and animal and plant remains there.  The earliest date obtained from the find appears to be 950,000 years old which is over 200,000 years earlier than remains found at Pakefield in Suffolk, once thought to be the cradle of civilization on the British Isle.

British Museum archaeologist Dr Nick Ashton said: "The new flint artefacts are incredibly important because, not only are they much earlier than other finds, but they are associated with a unique array of environmental data that gives a clear picture of the vegetation and climate".

"This demonstrates early humans surviving in a cooler climate than that of the present day," he said.

The climate was similar to that of modern-day southern Scandinavia. Summer temperatures were like those of modern Britain — but winters were long and harsh, with average temperatures of between 0C and minus 3C.

Fossilised remains of "Norfolk Man" have yet to be unearthed. But scientists said it was likely he was related to Pioneer Man — hailed as Europe's oldest inhabitant when his remains were uncovered in northern Spain in 1994. - More: Gulf

 Early Man in Britain and His Place in the Tertiary Period   Prehistoric Britain (Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology)   Prehistoric Britain (Routledge World Archaeology)