Fossils reveal 800,000-year-old Britons

A mysterious race of ancient Britons who had much in common with people today but belonged to another human species lived in Norfolk almost a million years ago, scientists believe.

Examples of their stone tools were found close to the seashore at Happisburgh, near the Norfolk Broads, where coastal erosion has exposed a treasure trove of fossils.

Evidence suggests they were hunting mammoth and deer and hiding from sabre-toothed cats in the area more than 800,000 years ago, making them the oldest known human settlers in northern Europe.

The find pushes back the date when humans were first known to have occupied Britain by at least 100,000 years.

No bones of the tool-makers have yet been discovered, but scientists believe they may have been related to a species called Homo antecessor (Pioneer Man) that lived in southern Europe at the same time.

They were not ancestors of people living today, but represented a "dead end" branch of the human evolutionary tree.