Mid Wales

Scientists' award for 800,000-year-old footprint find

Footprints Image copyright Dr Martin Bates
Image caption The footprints discovered at the beach are thought to belong to Homo Antecessor or 'Pioneering Man'

Geoarcheologists who helped discover the earliest footprints ever found outside Africa have been given an award for their work.

Dr Martin Bates of University of Wales Trinity Saint David discovered the 800,000-year-old imprints in Norfolk.

He was part of a team including scientists from the British Museum and Natural History Museum digging at a beach in Happisburgh in 2013.

The project was named rescue dig of the year at the Archaeology Awards.

Dr Bates recognised the footprints as human after studying similar prints at Borth in Ceredigion, and said: "Seeing them for the first time it was clear that this was something special."

They were exposed at low tide as heavy seas removed beach sands.

Lampeter-based Dr Bates said the prints were from a range of adult and child foot sizes, up to a UK size eight, and were the latest discoveries after stone tools and fossil bones were discovered nearby.

Image copyright Dr Martin Bates
Image caption Dr Martin Bates at Happisburgh where he discovered the 800,000-year-old footprints
Image copyright Dr Martin Bates
Image caption Only footprints discovered in Tanzania and Kenya are older than the ones found in Happisburgh

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