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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree April 2019 > Our genealogical Stone Age ancestor

Our genealogical Stone Age ancestor

Dr Tom Booth, Visiting Researcher in the ancient DNA team at the Natural History Museum, has been analysing hundreds of skeletons, including that of Cheddar Man. Here he tells us about the importance of this particular Mesolothic ancestor, both to scientists and to those of us curious about our deep genealogical roots
In terms of his individual legacy, Cheddar Man is the genealogical ancestor of most, if not all, humans alive today

The 10,000-year-old human skeleton known as Cheddar Man has been at the centre of conversations around the genealogies of Britain since its discovery in 1903 when it was hailed as ‘the earliest Englishman’.

A skeleton history

Cheddar Man was excavated during the development of ‘Gough’s New Cave’, in the Mendip Hills, Somerset as an extension to the lucrative show cave, ‘Gough’s Old Cave’. At the time he was thought to be tens of thousands of years old. Since then, radiocarbon dating and anthropological analysis of Cheddar Man’s bones has found that he was 5’ 5’’ tall, male and had died in his early twenties around 10,300 years ago, during a period known as the Early Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age).

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About Family Tree

Do you know what your surname means and where it's come from? You don't? You've come to the right place. With the April issue of Family Tree we've got a cracking 32 guide to help you learn about your family names. From surname super-sleuth organisation the Guild of One-Name Studies, it's packed with advice to research your family surnames - wherever in the world they come from... Plus - inside the mag - we've got 10 top family history projects to help you organise your research, university research into our ancient 10,000 year old ancestor (he's the great-grandpa of us all) and the tale of an orphan, disinherited and banished into slavery - and his 30 year fight to regain what was rightfully his!