A tight bone and two teeth are all that remains of the Boxgrove Man, who lived in southern England (West Sussex) 450,000 years ago. The 1994 discovery revealed three things:
1. The man was more than six feet tall, taller than the Neanderthal people, whose bones (two adults and two children) were found in a cave in North Wales, from about 120,000 years ago.
2. In the warm period between two Ice Ages he ate rhinoceros meat - the animal's bones were found nearby.
3. One tooth suffered from severe periodontosis (now attributed to eating too much sugar).
The country was continuously occupied from the time of the Boxgrove Man but between 23,000 and 13,000 years ago, archaeologists have concluded, the country was virtually empty. For ten thousand years of the Ice Age, the population of Britain fled across what later became the English Channel to the south of France and the north of Spain, which had a more temperate climate. That period was the coldest spell in a long succession of ice ages, and it proved too much even for the hardy people then inhabiting Britain.
In 1995, a history teacher in southwest England was told by scientists: "You are a direct descendant of a Stone Age man, who 7,000 years ago lived in a cave in Cheddar Gorge, one kilometre from where you live now." British molecular scientists compared the DNA sample of remains of the caveman with samples of twenty persons who had lived here for generations and in the one case the two DNA samples matched.