A selection of objects recovered from Happisburgh. The flint tools include hard-hammer flakes and notches (a-h). There’s also a fossilised pine cone (i) and a mammoth molar (j). (Photo by Simon Parfitt)
This aerial view of the site from the southeast marks the channel where the River Thames used to flow into. The flint tools and fossilised plants and animals were found at Site 3, while Site 1 provided a handaxe dating from a later part of the Pleistocene. (Photo by Mike Page).
Parfitt’s team are hard at work. Many of the artefacts were found in the brown gravel layer that has been exposed. (Photo by Phil Crabb, Natural History Museum, London)
A closer view of Site 3. When the Happisburgh settlers were around 80,000 years ago, this area would have been covered by floodplains, fringed with forest. You would have seen elk, deer and maybe even mammoths. (Photo by Phil Crabb, Natural History Museum, London)
80,000 years ago, the Thames flowed northwards and emptied into the sea at Norfolk, 150 km north of its current estuary. The red dots on the bigger map show the positions of where key archaeological sites from the same time period – Happisburgh is the only one above the line of the Alps and the Pyrenees. (Photo by Simon Parfitt)
The village of Happisburgh today is threatened by coastal erosion. But this same erosion provides a rare opportunity to examine sites that have been previously buried, or obscured by the village’s beach and sea defences. (Photo by Andrew Dunn)