Mammoth task

31/03/2017   |   Oliver Hutchinson

The past few days have brought with them some of the lowest tides of the year around the coast of England, and yesterday on Mersea Island in Essex was no exception. High pressure and a south westerly wind combined to deliver perfect conditions that pushed the tide out farther than some of our trusty local oysterman had ever seen. In places it was possible to walk over 1km from the shoreline across the mud of the huge and beautiful Mersea Flats. With so much foreshore exposed our team of over twenty would need to work quickly to cover as much of the rarely exposed foreshore as possible. It was surely a mammoth task…

The team
The team

Our trusty team. A surprising number of smiles given the morning hour

Our teams split into two groups to walk east and west along the low water line. We had extra air support on the day with two pilots flying above to capture aerial images of the rarely exposed foreshore. A key aim of the day was to establish if any more track way timbers had been revealed in the vicinity of track 1. It turned out that something much too large to use that track way would be found.

Pointy tusk
Pointy tusk

Ivory found it! Our eagle eyed team

Colosal fossil

A small and pointy feature poking out between the shingle and sands and was spotted by our eagle eyed volunteers, and what a discovery! With a little cleaning of the area they were able to reveal the tusk of this beast from the east (of Mersea), a whopping 2m long! Its immense age meant that it was incredibly fragile and crumbled when touched so lifting it out was simply not possible. Rather, it was better to survey it in as much detail as possible in situ before covering it up again. Our ever amazing volunteer team braved the early start again today to revisit the tusk and gather enough data and photographs to create this fantastic 3D model (created by the king of the skies of Mersea, James Pullen).

The team also gathered samples of the tusk and the sands and clay underneath and around it for analysis back at CITiZAN HQ. This wasn’t the only thing found on the day of course, so keep a look out for our next blog post with all the details of the discoveries made yesterday.

As soon as we know more about this incredible foreshore find from this #alltimelow tide we will share it with you. Follow us on twitter @citizan1 or on Facebook for the latest news.


If you’d like to join our intrepid team in Essex visit our events page on the website to register for your free place. We’ll be in Mersea again on the 29th-30th of July to explore the foreshore that just keeps on giving.