Discovery is made of first footprints

editorial image

Three scientists from Bedfordshire have been heavily involved in a project that has discovered 800,000-year-old footprints on the Norfolk coast.

Dr Simon Lewis, Dr Nick Ashton, both from Ampthill, and Dr Simon Parfitt, from Bedford, are all co-directors of the Happisburgh project which is looking at the earliest evidence of human presence in Britain.

It was revealed last week that the footprints found at Happisburgh are the earliest evidence of human footprints discovered outside Africa.

Simon Lewis, 48, said: “This was certainly a significant moment in the project. I wasn’t actually there on the day they were found, but there was a great deal of excitement surrounding the discovery.”

Simon explained that the footprints would have been protected by a layer of sediment and preserved on the cliff until recently when the sun eroded some of the cliff.

He added: “It really was just being at the right place at the right time when we made this discovery, but it’s very interesting and it ties in with other research we have carried out.”

Dr Lewis is based at the Queen Mary University of London where he teaches under- graduate students.