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A mammoth discovery at Clifton

A woolly mammoth tusk discovered at Tarmac’s Clifton quarry in Worcestershire, is about to go on display at a local museum. It was spotted by one of Tarmac’s plant drivers at the site and alerted the site managers, who called in Worcestershire County Council's Archive and Archaeology Service, to investigate the discovery.

The size of the tusk suggests that it was from a young male animal, which could have grown up to eleven feet height at the shoulder and weighed up to six tonnes. It has been slowly dried out and conserved by a specialist conservator Nigel Larkin. It will be on temporary display at Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery in Foregate Street, Worcester from Saturday 20 August. The museum is open Monday to Saturday 10.30am – 4.30 pm.

Nick Atkins, Tarmac’s estates manager, said: “We’re extremely excited that such a significant discovery has been made at our site and are very keen to see what else we can find out about it. It’s fantastic to discover something like this which is so well preserved and will help us and the specialists find out more about the creature and its history.” 

Senior Archaeological Project Manager Robin Jackson added: "Thanks to the very prompt and responsible actions of the quarry staff we've been able to recover this very interesting find from Worcestershire's distant past. Discoveries of mega fauna (or giant animal) bones in Worcestershire are rare and therefore this find is an important one which will hopefully inspire people to learn more about Palaeolithic Worcestershire."

Commenting on the discovery, Deborah Fox, Curator of Archaeology and Natural History at the museum, said: "We're delighted to be able to display this wonderful specimen and would like to pay tribute to Tarmac for their swift action and care of this important discovery, and to Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service's professionalism and expertise. It's been many decades since a specimen like this came into the City Museum and we're very pleased to have it here."

An initial specialist assessment of the find confirms it to be the remains of a tusk from a Mammuthus primigenius, or woolly mammoth. Such animals once roamed the Worcestershire countryside around 50,000 years ago alongside our Neanderthal ancestors during a period of the human past called the Palaeolithic era.

A mammoth discovery at Clifton

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