Thursday, July 08, 2010

Ancient Britons

New evidence from Norfolk suggests that the UK supported a population of humans a few hundred thousand years earlier than had previously been thought. Various tools and settlement detritus has come to light at a site in the North of the county that dates from around one million years ago.


Populations of humans have come and gone in Briton, at least 8 different migrations are known of and they tended to ebb and flow with ice ages which happen roughly every 100,000 years. Its fascinating to think that we are just the latest in a long series of different human species (Homo-antecessor in this case ) and groups to have inhabited these islands over a time period too large for most people to properly grasp. Because of our insignificant life-spans measured in tens of years and the perspective that tends to engender, we think of events that happened 5,000 years ago as ancient history, its hard to extrapolate and imagine 1,000,000 years ago and even harder to then realise that even this is but an instant in the spectrum of deep time. We live on a planet that is over 4 billion years old in a universe that is at least 13 billion years old, and we are part of a continuous chain of life stretching back at least 3 of those 4 billion years.

3 comments:

G said...

And the brilliant bit is, though it's only 13 billion years old, it's 150 billion light years across! And if you think that's reasonable you've either never heard of the Theory of Relativity, or even more scary you understand it!

G said...

I'll make the joke about "evidence of prehistoric humans in Norfolk" somewhere else, of course.

Steve Borthwick said...

G, there I was setting up a perfect platform for neolithic Norfolk jokes and I don't get a single nibble :)