The Cromer Forest-bed is world-renowned for the thousands of fossils mammals such as mammoth, rhino and hippo that have been discovered over the last 250 years. The bones have been recovered by fossil collectors from the black muds, sands and gravels that have been exposed in the eroding cliffs and on the foreshore around the coasts of Norfolk and Suffolk. The complex deposits date from 500,000 to over two million years ago.

Stone tools

Since 2000, flint tools have also been discovered that chart the presence of early humans over 800,000 years ago, making it the earliest evidence for people in northern Europe. The fossil bones are critical to understanding the age of the flint tools and for suggesting the location of new sites.

The Project

The aim of the project is to record the fossils and flint artefacts from these coastal deposits in a more systematic way. A large database is being developed which will record the type of fossil (animal and body part), the location and the type of deposit in which it was found. The database will include fossils found in the past together with new beach finds.


Cromer Forest bed at Happisburgh Site 3

Identifying and recording your fossils

Fossils can be brought into Norwich Castle Study Centre for identification and recording onto the database. Alternatively images of stone tools can be sent to Nick Ashton at the British Museum for identification.

River gravels and estuary silts at  Happisburgh Site 3



Reporting finds
Happisburgh survey
Early Britain
AHOB Project


(c) 2013, The Cromer Forest-Bed Fossil Project