This budding young explorer showed adults how it’s really done on a holiday trip to prehistoric caves.
Nine-year-old Ollie Brockwell-Joyce was visiting Creswell Crags near Worksop last Thursday when he stumbled across a 60,000-year-old tooth belonging to an extinct hyena.
The youngster from Pole Moor was on the trip with grandparents Margaret and David Joyce, of Armitage Bridge, and was playing in a sandy area in the corner of Robin Hood’s cave when he made the incredible discovery.
Nearly passing it off as a piece of flint, the self-confessed dinosaur fanatic looked again and realised it was a tooth, before showing it to a tour guide who confirmed the find as genuine.
And to top off his amazing discovery, the Wilberlee Junior School pupil went back only to discover even more rare fossils.
Ollie, who says he has loved dinosaurs since he was three and wants to be a palaeontologist when he grows up, said: “I found a black shiny thing.
“I thought it was a bit of flint at first but I looked again and realised it was a tooth. I also found an ankle bone from a hare, a piece of quartz and piece of flint.
“The tooth was from a baby cave hyena and it’s 60,000-years-old. The hyenas are extinct now.
“I had to give them to the museum but I got to keep an archaeologist’s medal!”
Proud mum Fiona Brockwell, 46, an estate agent, said: “Ollie has always had a passion for dinosaurs since he could talk. He’s got lots of fossils in his bedroom so this really was an exciting discovery for him.”
Staff think the prehistoric relics were the first ever to be found by tourists in the caves. The site was excavated during the Victorian era, which makes the discovery even more special.
Stephanie Tristram, the guide who took Ollie’s tour, says “Ollie told me before we even set off on the tour that he wants to be a palaeontologist when he grows up, so for him to then stumble across a tooth is just incredible.
“He brought it over and said he thought he’d found a piece of flint – when I realised it was a tooth I was stunned.”
The tooth was analysed by Jane Ford, a PhD student, who confirmed its age and species.
Ollie’s name will now be put on the museum’s accession register, meaning he is named as the official discoverer of the artefact.