Stepping back into history

The Swanscombe skull from the earliest known Neanderthal in Britain
The Swanscombe skull from the earliest known Neanderthal in Britain

Evidence of ancient Britain’s past is revealed in an exhibition which includes bones from a woolly mammoth and a rhinoceros, as well as a sabre-tooth cat.

Bucks County Museum and College Lake, in Tring, have loaned specimens to Humans in Ancient Britain, which opened at the Natural History Museum in Tring last month and is proving to be a great success with visitors.

Exhibition curator Alice Adams, who is the interpretation and learning manager at the museum, said: “It’s proving to be really popular with visitors. It’s lovely to see them excitedly calling each other over to look at a specimen, share a newly discovered fact or to watch one of the short films together.”

The evolution of humans and the transformation of our landscape and climate over 900,000 years is told in the exhibition which was inspired by 12 years of research led by the Natural History Museum’s scientists, and it is proving to be most appealing to families with older children aged seven plus, and to adults.

Ms Adams said: “Many visitors are thrilled by the local mammoth, lion and hippo remains from nearby College Lake, some of which are on loan to us from Bucks County Museum. They’re fascinated to discover that these animals roamed around this area thousands of years ago. Adult visitors really appreciate the scientific importance and rarity of the famous Swanscombe skull from a Neanderthal woman. It’s one of the earliest specimens found in Britain, dating back 400,000 years and I feel honoured that we’re able to display it here in Tring.”

The exhibition runs through to Sunday November 6. The museum in Akeman Street, Tring is open from 10am - 5pm Monday to Saturday and from 2pm - 5pm on Sundays. Admission is free.Details at www.nhm.ac.uk