Further exploration of mammoth graveyard unearths whole host of new Palaeolithic finds
HILLS Quarry Products have announced further palaeontological activity at one of their quarries near Swindon over the past few weeks, where mammoth fossils continue to be excavated. This latest phase of activity, called Mammoth 2.0, has seen further exploration of the site where, in 2019 and 2021, a 200,000-year-old mammoth graveyard was found.
The recent activity has been carried out by Neo Jurassica, who are among the leading experts in this field. They are also working in conjunction with Archaeological Research Services, leading universities, museums, and other experts to continue this invaluable work on the next chapter of discovery.
The new palaeolithic finds at the site include the remains of steppe mammoth tusks, a pygmy mammoth tooth, several bison vertebrae, a rib and jawbone, wild horse ribs, and a partially complete tooth from a cave or brown bear.
James Hogg, director of Neo Jurassica, said: ‘It was a true pleasure to meet Mike Hill and the team at Hills. If it wasn’t for their support and shared vision of the scientific importance of this site, this multidisciplinary systematic excavation would not have been possible.’
All the finds are being conserved at the Yorkshire Natural History Museum, in Sheffield, and will be accessible to researchers across the UK. The scope of this second phase of the investigation is said to be vast. By amassing a large collection of mammoth bones, much can be learned about the size and social structure of their herds and how this compares with modern elephants.
Peter Andrew, group director at Hills Quarry Products, said: ‘It’s a fantastic site and it just keeps on giving. We are looking forward to next year when we will welcome more teams of experts to carry out the next part of the excavation.’
Earlier this summer there was a rash of press speculation relating to the company’s decision to end its working relationship with DigVentures, which Hills say led to several unsubstantiated and incorrect claims regarding the next phase of archaeological activity at the site relating to the earlier mammoth finds that were unhelpful to the future of the project.
As a family-owned business, Hills Quarry Products say they are extremely proud of their long-standing support for archaeological investigations and academic research linked to discoveries at their sites. They say this is something to which Hills remain committed and that they will continue working with the country’s leading professional and academic research organizations to help better understand and secure items of archaeological and palaeontological interest for the nation.