Historic Environment Record images

MEM15213 - Bronze Age aurochs, Porlock Bay

ENPHER Number:MEM15213
Name:Bronze Age aurochs, Porlock Bay
Type of Record:Monument
Grid Reference:SS 8733 4783

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The partial skeleton of an Aurochs (Bos prinigenius) of Early Bronze Age date was exposed by erosion on Porlock Beach in October 1996 and excavated in April 1998.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Early Bronze Age - 2500 BC to 1501 BC (Possible)) + Sci.Date

Designated Status: none recorded


The partial skeleton of an Aurochs (Bos prinigenius) of Early Bronze Age. The remains were exposed by the erosion of alluvial deposits following the breach of Porlock Bay shingle ridge in October 1996. Excavation in April 1998 revealed the skeleton to be situated in a large palaeochannel. It is possible more of the Aurochs skeleton survives in other locations on Porlock beach within uneroded sections of the paleochannel. [1]

The pelvis and parts of the vertebral column and rib cage were recovered. The animal was identified as an adult bull at least ten years of age which might have died of an injury or a subsequent infection. [2]

The remains have been Radiocarbon dated to 1738-1450 Calibrated BC. [5]

The remains of the aurochs are on display at the Porlock Visitor Centre.
Further excavations were carried out near to where the bones were discovered, where a further bone was uncovered, which is yet to be analysed. [7]

The animal was estimated to be six foot high at the shoulder. [8]

There is no evidence on the bones to indicate that the aurochs was killed or butchered by people living in the area. [9]

The site of the aurochs excavation is now continually under water from the tidal pond expanding to the southeast. [10]

<1> McDonnell, R., 1998, Porlock Bay Aurochs: Excavation Report (Report). SEM6732.

<2> Straker, V. and Weinstock, J., Unknown, The Porlock Aurochs (Unpublished document). SEM6716.

<3> Weinstock, J., 2001, Porlock Aurochs (Unpublished document). SEM6717.

<4> Weinstock, J., 2001, Another Bone From Porlock (Unpublished document). SEM6718.

<5> McDonnell, R., 2002, Archaeological Sampling of Two Intertidal Palaeoechannels in Porlock Bay: Interim Report (Report). SEM6730.

<6> McDonnell, R., 2002, Porlock Bay and Marsh: Record of Archaeological Monitoring 1998 to 2002, P. 4 (Report). SEM6733.

<7> Webb, C., 2001, The Giant Aurochs of Porlock (Article in serial). SEM6719.

<8> Guscott, S., 2001, Untitled Source (Article in serial). SEM6720.

<9> Straker, V., Weinstock, J. + Wilson-North, R., 2001, The Archaeology of Porlock Beach (Article in serial). SEM6722.

<10> McDonnell, R., 2009, Porlock Bay and Marsh: Archaeological Monitoring 2008-2009 Annual Report, P. 2 (Report). SEM7387.

Related records

MEM15214Part of: Bronze Age palaeochannels in Porlock Bay (Monument)

Other References

  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Shoreline Management Plan 2 (0-20)
Date Last Edited:Jul 26 2016 12:20PM


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