Two boxes of human remains rediscovered after 55 years have actually been discovered to be as old as the Cheddar Male – Britain’s oldest complete skeleton.
The bones were found in a cave in Cannington Park Quarry near Bridgwater, Somerset, in the 1960 s.
Right After they “vanished”, and were just recently discovered at Somerset Heritage Centre near Taunton, Cotswold Archaeology stated.
Radiocarbon dating has shown them to be more than 9,000 years old.
Osteoarchaeologist Sharon Clough, of Cotswold Archaeology, stated the results were “extremely surprising” as the bones were originally believed to be Roman and from a cemetery near to where they were found in 1964.
They were positioned in boxes and moved between museums, consisting of London’s Nature Museum, prior to they were misplaced.
” It was a little bit of a secret, I ‘d presumed they had actually been archived with the rest of the dig from the post-Roman cemetery,” Ms Clough said.
” However they ‘d been chosen of the rubble in the cavern and weren’t viewed as part of the main dig so they were only slightly interesting and were archived and ignored.”
They were eventually tracked down to Somerset prior to going through carbon dating.
Ms Clough explained the remains, from a minimum of seven individuals, as “a few of the oldest known people to inhabit this nation”.
She stated 2 thigh bones, from an adult and an under 18, were found to be more than 9,000 years of ages “which puts both of the bones very clearly in the early Mesolithic”.
Cheddar Male lived in the Somerset area 9,000 years earlier and was buried in Cheddar Gorge, where his skeleton was discovered in 1903.
Ms Clough said Mesolithic human remains are “incredibly uncommon discoveries” in this country.
” Cheddar male has all the bits but we just have a lot of long bones, a couple of cranial parts and a couple of pieces of pelvis,” she said of the latest discovery.
” However it’s really amazing to find human remains of this date.”
She added the cavern was “totally destroyed” by quarrying in the 1990 s, so the bones are the “only enduring proof for what now appears to have been a rare Mesolithic burial website”.