The Cromer Forest-bed is world-renowned for the thousands of fossils mammals such as mammoth, rhino and hippo that have been discovered over the last 250 years. The bones have been recovered by fossil collectors from the black muds, sands and gravels that have been exposed in the eroding cliffs and on the foreshore around the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk. The complex deposits date from 500,000 to over two million years ago.
Since 2000, flint tools have also been discovered that chart the presence of early humans over 800,000 years ago, making it the earliest evidence for people in northern Europe. The fossil bones are critical to understanding the age of the flint tools and for suggesting the location of new sites.
The aim of the project is to record the fossils and flint artefacts from these coastal deposits in a more systematic way. A large database is being developed which will record the type of fossil (animal and body part), the location and the type of deposit in which it was found. The database will include fossils found in the past together with new beach finds.