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800,000 year-old footprints of the Hominid species, Homo antecessor, found on a Norfolk beach Image credit AHOB/Martin Bates
David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent for The Independent, writes today that –
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.
The Happisburgh prints appear to have been made by a small group, perhaps a family, of early humans, probably belonging to the long-extinct Hominid species Homo antecessor (‘Pioneer Man’). Archaeologists are now analysing detailed 3D images of the prints to try to work out the approximate composition of the group. Of the 50 or so examples recorded, only around a dozen were reasonably complete – and only two showed the toes in detail. Tragically, although a full photogrammetric and photographic record has been made, all but one of the prints were rapidly destroyed by incoming tides before they could be physically lifted.
Full article here.

UNESCO assess damage to Cairo Museum of Islamic Arts
Video by Rowan El Shimi for Ahram Online

Daily News Egypt reports that –

Members of the UNESCO delegation said it was especially shocking to see the museum in its current state, but praised the quick response of the rescue team. “We were so pleased when we saw in Paris the response of the rescue team,” the delegation said. “This team of 11 people were trained for two years by the Ministry of Antiquities, UNESCO and the International Council of Museums.” Another member of the delegation added; “This museum is so important for us, and when I say ‘us’, I mean anyone who cares about culture; this is the mother of all Islamic museums. Its artefacts are important, but the building itself is equally important. Excellent work has been done here in the aftermath of the explosion, but more will be needed in this coming time. We will connect the conservation specialists in Cairo to other conservation specialists abroad so Egypt can have the best technical support and these artefacts could be seen by you, your children and visitors here in Cairo.”

UNESCO has confirmed that it is setting aside $100,000 in emergency funds to help rebuild the Museum of Islamic Arts.

Full article here.



February 2014
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