The million-year-old family? Human footprints found in Britain are oldest ever seen outside of Africa


David Keys
Independent.co.uk
February 7, 2014

Discovery may re-write history of how humankind spread into northern Europe. / Image via Independent.co.uk

Discovery may re-write history of how humankind spread into northern Europe. / Image via Independent.co.uk

Extraordinary new evidence of Britain’s first human inhabitants has been discovered in Norfolk. Around 50 footprints, made by members by an early species of prehistoric humans almost a million years ago, have been revealed by coastal erosion near the village of Happisburgh, in Norfolk, 17 miles north-east of Norwich.

The discovery – made by a team of experts from the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and Queen Mary University of London – is one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever made in Britain and is of great international significance, as the footprints are the first of such great age ever found outside Africa. Indeed even there, only a few other examples have ever come to light – all in Kenya and Tanzania.

In Britain, the oldest footprint discoveries prior to the Norfolk finds, had dated from just 7,500 years ago, a tiny fraction of the age of the newly revealed examples.

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