Natural History Museum stages prehistoric family reunion

 

Archaeology Correspondent

For the first time ever, all the major British remains from different Stone Age human species are being brought together in a ground-breaking temporary exhibition – Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story.

Their remains, and examples of the artefacts they made, will be displayed to the public for the next seven and a half months.

It is the first time that many of the items have been on public display. They include northern Europe’s oldest flint tools, made in Norfolk at least 850,000 years ago – probably by an early human species called Homo antecessor; a 500,000-year-old human leg bone from another extinct human species, Homo heidelbergensis, found in Sussex; a 400,000-year-old early Neanderthal human skull from Kent; 230,000-year-old Neanderthal jaw fragments and teeth from Wales; 40,000-year-old bone fragments and teeth of Britain’s earliest known modern humans (our species - Homo sapiens) from Kent’s Cavern, Devon; and the famous ‘Red Lady of Paviland’ – a ritually ochre-stained male Homo sapiens skeleton from Wales, dating back 40,000 years.

Professor Chris Stringer, of the Natural History Museum, a world authority on human origins said: “Britain has one of the richest yet most underappreciated records of early human history in the world”.

 

The 400,000-year-old female skull, found in Swanscombe in Kent, has not been on public display for many decades. From a young adult woman, it was discovered in one of the most important prehistoric archaeological zones in Britain, where, over the years, some 10,000 Neanderthal hand axes have been found.

The exhibition – open to the public from Thursday 13 February to 28 September - will also feature specially commissioned Neanderthal and Stone Age Homo sapiens models that are the most life-like and scientifically accurate ever made. Also exposed will be skeletal material from Somerset that shows clear evidence of cannibalism 14,700 years ago, a hippo tooth from Trafalgar Square, and a woolly rhinoceros skull from Peterborough.  

The exhibition also features reflections on prehistoric personal ancestries, derived from DNA analysis, from comedian Bill Bailey; TV presenter and author, Clive Anderson; TV presenter, Sian Williams; scientist and broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts; medical researcher and broadcaster, Dr Kevin Fong; and space scientist, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock .

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen