Mid Wales

4,000-year-old red deer skull and antlers found in Borth

4,000-year-old dear skull and antlers Image copyright University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The skull and antlers of a deer dating back 4,000 years have been found.

Researchers from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David are examining the red deer remains, discovered on a beach in Borth, Ceredigion.

They were first spotted in early April, but were not recovered until Friday due to the tides.

Dr Ros Coard, from the university, said: "The individual was certainly in the prime of his life showing full development of the large antlers."

When the skull was first seen, it was reported to the Royal Commission in Aberystwyth which alerted Dr Martin Bates, of UWTSD's school of school of archaeology, history and anthropology.

The people who found it photographed the area where it was spotted and this was used by the team who manually searched the water at low tide until the skull was found under 1m (3.2ft) of water.

'Wonderful discovery'

This discovery comes from a channel cut through an area which in the 1960s turned up bones of a large auroch, an extinct form of large wild cattle that once lived in Europe.

The forest and peat deposits either side of this channel date to between about 6,000 and 4,000 years ago - the time of the last hunter gatherers and the earliest farmers in Britain.

Dr Bates said: "This is a wonderful discovery that really brings the forest and its environs to light.

"Although the exact age of the skull has yet to be confirmed, it's probable that the channel within which the find was made is contemporary with the forest and so an age in excess of 4,000 years old is likely."

Dr Coard, a faunal specialist at UWTSD, added: "Although the antlers and partial skull still have to undergo full analysis, the antlers can be said to come from a very large, mature male red deer."

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