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Earliest skull ever mudlarked from the Thames on display at the Museum of London

A fragment of a Neolithic skull, discovered by a mudlarker along the south bank of the Thames foreshore is on display at the Museum of London.

Dating from 3600BC this skull belongs to one of the earliest people discovered in the Thames. Only a small part of the skull has been recovered, just the frontal bone, but that has allowed us to determine that it was male and over the age of 18.

The find was initially handed in to the Metropolitan Police who commissioned radiocarbon dating of the bone, which has revealed that it dated to around 5600 years ago.

The skull fragment is on display in the ‘London before London’ gallery at the Museum of London and sits amongst other Neolithic finds that have been discovered along the Thames foreshore.

Dr Rebecca Redfern, Curator of Human Osteology at the Museum of London, said: “This is an incredibly significant find and we’re so excited to be able to showcase it at the Museum of London. The Thames is such a rich source of history for us and we are constantly learning from the finds that wash up on the foreshore. We are grateful to the Metropolitan Police for their collaboration with us on this and are eager to welcome visitors to see this new discovery.”

DC Matt Morse at the Metropolitan Police, said: “Upon reports of a human skull fragment having been found along the Thames foreshore, detectives from South West CID attended the scene. Not knowing how old this fragment was, a full and thorough investigation took place, including further detailed searches of the foreshore.

"The investigation culminated in the radiocarbon dating of the skull fragment, which revealed it to be likely belonging to the Neolithic Era. Having made this discovery, we linked in with the Museum of London who were more than happy to accept the remains.”

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