Neanderthals, an early species of man, were skilled toolmakers who roamed the planet over 500,000 years ago.
Neanderthals, an early species of man, were skilled toolmakers who roamed the planet over 500,000 years ago.Natural History Museum

Scientists believe that early humans may have created one of their first settlements around Manor Caravan Park in Happisburgh, Norfolk.

Stone tools and fossilised remains uncovered so far are believed to be the oldest found in the UK, dating back one million years.

Ancestors of modern-day humans existed then, a primitive predecessor of Homo antecessor, one of the earliest known human species in Europe, and also Homo erectus.

These species had fairly small brains and may have been cannibals. Fossils of six individuals that may have belonged to Homo antecessor were found in Atapuerca, Spain. At the site were numerous examples of cuts where the flesh had been stripped from the bones, indicating that H. antecessor could have practised cannibalism.

"We don't know which species of early human first came to Britain so my dream is to find a fossil human at Happisburgh," Chris Stringer, research leader in human origins at the Natural History Museum, told the Sunday Times.

"Happisburgh could be the first place where humans settled in Britain... We have some spectacular finds of tools and the fossils of butchered animals beneath cliffs in front of what is now partly a holiday caravan park. We think the site where they lived was on the river Thames, which flowed out into the North Sea at that point," Stringer said.

The discoveries will be on show in February at an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London called Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story.

Displays will include 200 specimens and objects, the world's oldest surviving wooden spear, lifelike models of a Neanderthal and a Homo sapiens, all specially commissioned for the exhibition.

The landscape of stone age Norfolk was covered with thick forest and populated with dangerous predators such as sabre-toothed tigers and hyenas.

However, it was also attractive to primitive man because there was also rich hunting in the shape of mammoths, bison, red deer and horses.

A million years ago, Britain was a peninsula of the European continent, with a land bridge connecting what is now Kent to Germany and the Low Countries of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Watch video of the Kennis brothers creating Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens