The mystery of a huge fossil an Eastbourne boy found on a beach has been solved.
Thought it could be a mammoth tusk, Archie Wood, 13, has now discovered it is likely a horn of an ancient creature called a Bos bison.
Archie, of Hampden Park, was metal detecting on a Bexhill beach when he spotted a strange item sticking out of the sand.
His grandad, Neil Wood, said, “He was so excited, he couldn’t believe what he was digging up. He saw it sticking out the sand. He pulled out this enormous tusk.”
At first they thought it might belong to the Ice Age giant, but the family visited specialists at the Isle of Wight, including Jurassic Jim.
Mr Wood said, “They are big into fossils there. When we went into the museum we saw identical fossils in a skull in a display cabinet and we thought ‘that’s it!’.
“Then we went to Jurassic Jim, he looked at the photo and said ‘that’s definitely a Bos bison’. He said it was worth about £120-£140. But, after a lot of deliberation, Archie felt donating it was the honourable thing to do.
“We made contact with Bexhill Museum, and now it’s on display with his name next to it. They are over the moon.”
Julian Porter, of Bexhil Museum, said, “It’s a fantastic addition to the collection. It’s an auroch, a species I’m very fond of, a giant wild cow or bison. We have got in touch with the Natural History Museum about it and are awaiting their response.
“It would have been an impressive animal. I suspect that, because of the size of the horn, it would have been a male, but I could be wrong.
“For years people have been finding wild animal bones in the area, I think it’s part of a prehistoric forest ecosystem of the late Stone or early Bronze Age, so about 4,000-6,000 years ago.
“At the moment we think Archie’s find could be from the Bronze Age, but somebody might tell us different. It really was so good of him to report it and bring it in so everyone can enjoy it. Hopefully the love of history he has will stay with him.”