[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 May, 2003, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Hominid site saved for research
The quarry where Britain's oldest human-like remains were found has been bought by English Heritage to enable further digging and conservation work at the site.

Boxgrove Man, EH
'Boxgrove Man' lived half a million years ago
(Image: English Heritage)
The fossilised specimen of "Boxgrove Man", a hominid of the species Homo heidelbergensis, was found near Chichester in Sussex in 1993.

The species is thought to have been the forerunner of Neanderthals in Europe.

The archaeologist who found the hominid's shin bone said restoration of the quarry would start soon.

"Further research excavations which are likely to reveal more astonishing finds can then take place," said Mark Roberts, principal research fellow at the University College London Institute of Archaeology, and Boxgrove Project Director.

Decades of digging

He and his colleagues believe the site was a spring or water hole where hominid hunters butchered giant deer and rhinos.

The site has yielded two teeth from another H. heidelbergensis individual and primitive flint and antler tools used to wound and stab animals.

The remains - all about 500,000 years old - were found 14 metres below ground.

Mark Roberts, UCL archaeologist, EH
'Further excavations are likely to reveal more astonishing finds'
(Image: English Heritage)
Most of the quarry will now be restored to return the landscape to its original condition, but a small section will be preserved for further digging.

English Heritage said there were decades of excavation to be done at Boxgrove.

"It may take 100 or even 200 years to exhaust all the information here, such is its importance and value," said Andy Brown, English Heritage's assistant regional director.

"This is a very important day for us," he said.

The quarry's previous owners, Hanson Aggregates, stopped work at the eight-hectare site in 1993 and have worked with English Heritage to secure the area.

New digs will not start at Boxgrove until mid-2004, once the rest of the quarry is cleared up.

Evidence of earliest human burial
26 Mar 03  |  Science/Nature
Oldest human footprints found
12 Mar 03  |  Science/Nature
Looking for the caveman inside us
19 Mar 03  |  Science/Nature

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific