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Discovery heralds mammoth excitement

PUBLISHED: 10:38 25 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:08 03 March 2010

ARCHEOLOGISTS in East Anglia unearthed the remains of mammoths dating back to the Ice Age in what has been hailed an "internationally significant" discovery.

ARCHEOLOGISTS in East Anglia unearthed the remains of mammoths dating back to the Ice Age in what has been hailed an "internationally significant" discovery.

The remains of several mammoths, which would have roamed pre-historic Europe some 50,000 years ago, have been found at a quarry in South Norfolk it was revealed today.

English Heritage which has been overseeing the 12-week excavation at the site was making details of the find public today.

The archaeological dig was first shrouded in secrecy amid concerns that the site will attract tourists and trophy hunters.

Neither English Heritage, nor Norfolk County council prepared to comment until a formal public statement was made today.

However one source said that the find was a "stunning discovery" of "international significance" and the remains were "startling and unique."

It was unclear how anyone stumbled across the find, or what would happen to the remains in the immediate future.

Only last week it was confirmed that the skeleton of a 650,000-year-old elephant discovered by villagers at West Runton, Norfolk, in 1990 would be the star exhibit at a multi-million pound attraction.

The skeleton was twice the size of a modern elephant and rated the finest example of its species in the world.

The first mammoths appeared in Africa about five million years ago. Experts believe about 1.5 million years ago mammoths roamed in North America, Europe and Asia.

According to evidence gained from the remains unearthed at sites across the globe they had tusks that could reach a length of 10 ft.

It is thought they had died out about 11,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene epoch – although bodies of small woolly mamoths have been found in ice sheets in Siberia which are thought to be 5,000 years old, they were still alive when the Pharoahs ruled Egypt.

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