Until this find, it was thought that humans arrived in northern
Europe 500,000 years ago, after archaeologists unearthed a shin bone
and two incisor teeth along with a number of flint tools at Boxgrove
in southern England.
The earliest evidence of human existence in southern Europe dates
back 800,000 years at sites in Spain and Italy.
It was thought that humans did not move to the colder north
because they were unable to adapt to factors such as longer winters
and shorter growing seasons.
However, Professor Stringer said soil samples from the Pakefield
site revealed that the climate 700,000 years ago was similar to the
present day Mediterranean region.
"We have learned from Pakefield and its fantastic biological
evidence that it was significantly warmer so people could move north
"They also had the same sort of plants and animals to exploit."
The megafauna that would have roamed Europe during this period
included rhinoceroses, elephants, sabre-tooth cats and
The geography was also very different from the present day.
Britain was connected to the Continent by a land bridge, which would
have allowed early humans to move in and out easily.
The land was low with no steep hills. Very large rivers dominated
the landscape and could have been used as tracks by migrating