Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/06/human_migration_to_britain/

UK immigrants beaten back by ice

700,000 years attempting entry

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Science, 6th September 2006 11:57 GMT

Humans failed to colonise Britain seven times before they finally settled, according to the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain Project. The five year scientific effort has re-examined a heap of data from fossils and flint tools.

The date of the earliest abortive attempt at making Blighty home was backdated 200,000 years by the research to 700,000 years ago. A bonanza of flints at a fossil-rich site in Lowestoft is the oldest unequivocal evidence of human occupation in northern Europe, The BBC reports.

Up until 12,000 years ago settlers were repeatedly beaten back as the country iced over during chilly periods.

Natural History Museum professor Chris Stringer told the BA Festival of Science: "Britain has suffered some of the most extreme climate changes of any area in the world during the Pleistocene."

"So places in say South Wales would have gone from something that looked like North Africa with hippos, elephants, rhinos and hyenas, to the other extreme: to an extraordinary cold environment like northern Scandinavia."

"In human terms, Britain was the edge of the Universe." ®