Archeologists in England have found the footprints of five people who lived between 800,000 and 1 million years ago in some ancient estuary mud at Happisburgh on England’s east coast, and I couldn’t be happier. Those folks very well could have been the ancestors of my ancestors, who came from the east coast of England before some of them moved to Wales.
(It occurs to me that if these footprints had been found in Wales, they could be called the prints of Wales, and likely would have been next in line for the throne.)
But these folk were Happisburghians, and they must have loved their little town nestled on the coast at the top of the rabbit’s tail on the English map.
The archeologists have surmised that since there were five sets of prints, the Happisburghians who made them in the mud must have been part of a family.
But that isn’t necessarily true. They may have been standing in line waiting to see the local podiatrist, for if you look at the accompanying Associated Press photo of the prints, it looks like their feet were in awful shape. It isn’t known whether they were covered by an affordable health care act, or whether it covered podiatry.
Or, they may have been standing around at the flint-tool shop, wanting to pick up a cutting blade, a hide scraper or an awl. Happisburgh has long been known for its excellent flint tools, and the Happisburghians were known for their skill in cutting and scraping hides of bison, mammoths, hippos and rhinoceroses, and poking holes in them so they could be sewn. It was a different place than we know now.
Unfortunately, the ground beneath the town is being eroded by the sea, according to Wikipedia, and it won’t be long before some of the houses begin to topple oceanward.
We’d better go take a look at Happisburgh while it’s still there, and make our own prints in the mud for someone to find 800,000 years from now.