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The first colonisation of northern Europe: humans at Happisburgh 800,000 years ago

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Alexey Morgunov.

Recent excavations on the East Anglian coast have transformed our knowledge of the early occupation of northern Europe. The work at Happisburgh has revealed rich organic sediments beneath the eroding cliffs. Flint tools have been recovered alongside wood, pollen, beetles and vertebrate remains, including mammoth, extinct rhinoceros and hyaenas. This evidence indicates that humans were occupying grasslands on the banks of the proto-Thames, over 800,000 years ago, in a cool climate surrounded by coniferous forest. The ability of humans to cope with winters cooler than today at this early date prompts questions about their technology, including the use of clothing, shelter and fire.

Nick Ashton is a curator of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic collections at the British Museum, and Deputy Director of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project. He specializes in Lower and Middle Palaeolithic archaeology.

This talk is part of the Trinity College Science Society (TCSS) series.

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