Thursday, 8 July 2010
Britain was once a country for Ancient Men who led hard and short lives
An article in the Guardian newspaper today was headlined :
Meet the family : humans were in the UK 950,000 years ago.
It made the following points about a haul of 78 razor sharp flint tools recovered from a beach in Norfolk. They :
* Push back the date of the first known human occupation of Britain by up to 250,000 years.
* Were unearthed from sediments that thought to have been laid down either 840,000 or 950,000 years ago, making them the oldest human artefacts ever found in Britain.
* Can be dated because the sediments show the Earth's polarity was opposite to today's and compasses would have pointed south.
* Were probably left by hunter-gatherers living on the flood plains and marshes which bordered an ancient course of the river Thames.
* Were made by people who would have lived alongside sabre-toothed cats and hyenas, primitive horses, red deer and southern mammoths.
* Belonged to a population of Britain at the time which most likely numbered in the hundreds or a few thousand at most.
* Overturn the long-held belief that early humans steered clear of chilly Britain and the rest of northern Europe, in favour of the more hospitable climate of the Mediterranean.
The early settlers would have walked into Britain across an ancient land bridge which once divided the North Sea from the Atlantic and connected the country to what is now mainland Europe.
The article elicited the following comments from readers :
* Bleedin' Spaniards comin' over here taking our Food & Land!
I'm emmigrating to the Neander Valley, first chance I get!
* I thought the planet was made by god only 6000 years ago. Oops!
* They will be glad they got in then... under the Current Government they would have had no chance! unless of course they were from Europe!
* I like that modern day picture of Norfolk, so life like.
* So the BNP policy is anyone that arrived after 952,010 BC is going to have to leave Britain?
* Excellent. I'll go back to Spain. At least they have a decent football team.
* Typical bloody foreigners... leaving all their trash behind. Honestly, some people.
* The tools are still sharp? Better get 'elth and safety on that before someone gets hurt!
* There you go, poor blighters, all their compasses were pointing the wrong way. No wonder they ended up in Lowestoft instead of Mallorca.
* They were all probably cousins.
And their descendants are almost certainly still living in Norfolk.
* I'll file this with 'Piltdown Man'.
* Maybe the flint tools were made by the giant beavers - if they haven't found any human bones.
* Stone tools?
Wow -- those were the days when Britain still actually made things.
* Well then, there you have it. Ain't science wonderful to keep discovering new things about where Man came from? I'll stay tuned for the next shocking revelation; maybe the scientists will identify the pond from which that amphibian which became Man crawled out of.
Here is the link to the video clip about the tools :