Scattered across England, a host of monumental mounds have long been interpreted as Norman castle mottes. Large round mounds boast a much earlier pedigree, however – as this month’s cover star, Silbury Hill, attests. A recent project has been investigating whether any sisters to Silbury are hiding in plain sight – with some surprising results.
The nearly 10,000-year-old skeleton who came to be known as ‘Cheddar Man’ was found in 1903, in Gough’s Cave at Cheddar Gorge, Somerset. In more recent times, his remains have been on display in the Human Origins Hall at the Natural History Museum. Despite his fame, until recently little was known about this individual. Now a team from UCL and the Natural History Museum has successfully sequenced his DNA for the first time, revealing a wealth of details about his physical appearance – with dramatic implications for our understanding of how inhabitants of Mesolithic Britain looked.