English 'beat French to frogs legs' claim after Wiltshire dig finds

Scene of dig in Amesbury The dig has uncovered the kinds of food being eaten 8,000 years ago

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A major archaeological dig in Wiltshire has unearthed evidence of frogs legs being eaten in Britain, 8,000 years before France, it has been claimed.

The team, which consists of Mesolithic period experts, also found other types of food including salmon and nuts.

David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, said people living there thousands of years ago were eating a "Heston Blumenthal-style menu".

The team hopes to confirm Amesbury as the UK's oldest continuous settlement.

The dig will run until 25 October.

It is being filmed and made into a documentary by the BBC, Smithsonian, CBC and others to be screened at a later date. The project is being led by the University of Buckingham.

'Most significant'

Mr Jacques added: "This is significant for our understanding of the way people were living around 5,000 years before the building of Stonehenge and it begs the question - where are the frogs now?"

The latest information is based on a report by fossil mammal specialist Simon Parfitt, of the Natural History Museum.

He examined the discoveries from the dig which has resulted in 12,000 finds, including 650 animal bones, all from the Mesolithic era.

Start Quote

By the end of this latest dig, I am sure the records will need to be altered”

End Quote Andy Rhind-Tutt Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust

Andy Rhind-Tutt, chairman of Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust and co-ordinator of the community involvement on the dig, said the studies at Amesbury could help explain why Stonehenge was created.

"No one would have built Stonehenge without there being something unique and really special about the area," he said.

"There must have been something significant here beforehand and Blick Mead, with its constant temperature spring sitting alongside the River Avon, may well be it.

"I believe that as we uncover more about the site over the coming days and weeks, we will discover it to be the greatest, oldest and most significant Mesolithic home base ever found in Britain."

He added: "Currently Thatcham - 40 miles from Amesbury - is proving to be the oldest continuous settlement in the UK with Amesbury 104 years younger.

"By the end of this latest dig, I am sure the records will need to be altered."

The site already boasts the biggest collection of flints and cooked animal bones in north west Europe.

The term Mesolithic refers to specific groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Palaeolithic and the Neolithic periods.

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