Saturday, 29 December 2007

Half a million year old tibia!

The site where Britain's oldest man was discovered will be preserved so archaeologists can see if it holds any more secrets.
There was interest from around the world nine years ago when the shin bone of a man, dating back 500,000 years, was unearthed at Boxgrove near Chichester.
The land has been safeguarded thanks to a £100,000 grant to English Heritage, which now has site ownership.
It is planning to restore the 20-acre site and excavate the section it is believed was a water hole used by early man and animals, including rhinocerous and bison.
Archaeologists hope to uncover more clues about how the man, dubbed Boxgrove Man, lived.
Mark Roberts, principal research fellow at the University College London Institute of Archaeology, led the team which made the first discovery.
Speaking at the quarry yesterday, he said: "With the approval of West Sussex County Council we hope to start a restoration programme this summer.
"This will entail securing the site and clearing it of scrub, reducing some of the sheer slopes of the quarry and partially back-filling the central area, using only existing material.
"Further research excavations, which are likely to reveal more astonishing finds, can then take place."
Andy Brown, assistant regional director of English Heritage, said: "There are decades of excavation at this site.
"It may take 100 or even 200 years to exhaust all the information.
"This is a very important day for us. For a decade this site has been revealed to be of superb archaeological importance, not just in the UK but also in north-west Europe.
"By buying this site it means we can protect it in a way that would not have been possible under normal circumstances due to a quirk in the legislation under which we operate."
Carbon dating showed the human shin bone, unearthed in 1993, belonged to a 6ft active man. He survived on a diet of raw meat in an area of cliff face between Arundel and Portsdown Hill in Hampshire, with the land below stretching to Northern France.
Archaeologists also uncovered two teeth around a metre deeper than the shin bone. and primitive tools made from flint and antler horns.
But despite further searches they failed to uncover the most treasured prize - Boxgrove Man's skull.
Now they hope to find what they describe as the "Holy Grail" of the site.
Archive Home
From the archive© Newsquest Media Group 2003

Image: Natural History Museum, London.

No comments:

Post a Comment