Bleadon Man's skull, 1999.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Bleadon Man was one of two skeletons discovered when building began on a new housing estate in Bleadon, Somerset, in 1998. The investigations of the skeleton were filmed for the BBC TV series 'Meet the Ancestors'. When the skull was found it was thoroughly embedded in the earth but, miraculously, archaeologists managed to remove it in one piece. However, as the soil was washed away at the laboratory, the skull collapsed into many fragments and had to be painstakingly reasembled. The shape of Bleadon Man's jaw was evidence of how ancient diets differed from ours. He had developed a robust jawbone because his food had contained a lot of grit. The skeleton now belongs to North Somerset Museum Service.