Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Britain's Scattered heritage": The First Englishman

Scattered Heritage: The Swanscombe skull, the Barnfield Pit at Swanscombe in Kent contains river terrace gravels and sands of the Anglian Ice Age laid down between 425,000 and 350,000 BC by an ancient course of the Thames, flowing more than 30 m higher than in the present day. These deposits were well known as a findspot of flint tools and bones of animals (species represented include giant deer , elephant, rhinoceros and lion). In the summer of 1956 an expedition of the students' association of the newly-founded East African University carried out fieldwork and collecting in several Palaeolithic sites in the Lower Thames valley. During the course of this fieldwork three fragments of human skull were found and with the permission of the landowners of Barnfield Pit, they were added to the University's teaching collections. They are currently displayed in the 'Africa, Homeland of the Human Race' Museum in Koobi Fora, though the British Museum (Natural History) has expressed interest in obtaining them for the national collections.

Photo: Part of the Swanscombe skull

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