AN UNUSUAL discovery during a routine dog walk has been found to be one of the oldest remains ever found in Worcestershire.

Martin Evans from Drakes Broughton was walking his dogs near the River Avon in Eckington in March when he uncovered a human skull.

He called police who referred the find to Worcestershire Archaeology, who began an investigation.

After a single bone sample was extracted from the right parietal bone by the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre’s radiocarbon dating laboratory, the skull – which appears to be from a female due to its shape – was traced back to between 3338 and 3025 BC, the Middle Neolithic period.

Mr Evans said finding the skull was “quite a shock”.

“At first it looked like a ball buried in the sand but when I washed the sand off, it was quite clear it was a human skull," he said.

"It's very well preserved and there's quite a large amount of detail for something so old."

Neolithic human remains have only been found in Worcestershire once before, during excavations at Wormington Farm near Aston Somerville, but this is not the first skull to have been found on the banks of the River Avon – another was found near Nafford Weir after a flood.

Worcestershire County Council’s senior environmental archaeologist for palynology Nock Daffern described the find as “fantastic”.

“To find some of the oldest human remains ever discovered in Worcestershire by chance is incredible, he said.

“It just goes to show that archaeology can be found absolutely everywhere.

"I would like to thank Martin for having such sharp eyes and to West Mercia Police, particularly Detective Sergeant Jim Bayliss, for involving me in what has turned out to be a fascinating case."

Once investigations have finished the skull will be handed over to Worcestershire Museums Service to go on display at either Hartlebury Museum or the Almonry Museum in Evesham.