A WILD boar skull which lay hidden under the North Sea for thousands of years was finally brought to the surface by a budding palaeontologist.
Eagle-eyed Nathan Welham spotted the skull poking out of the sand and water during a family walk along the beach near Old Hunstanton.
Experts at Lynn Museum have verified that the bone is between 7,000 and 10,000 years old and dates back to the late Ice Age when Britain was joined to mainland Europe.
The skull belonged to a young boar and still has its teeth and tusks.
The find now has pride of place at five-year-old Nathan’s home in Heacham and he affectionately calls it “Charlie Pig”.
His proud mum Michelle says Nathan is a regular beach comber.
She said: “Nathan is always picking things up and trying to find treasure.
“He loves adventure.
“This time he really has found treasure.
“He was so happy when we picked it up and was asking if he had really found treasure this time.”
Nathan discovered the skull during a dog walk between Old Hunstanton and Holme with his mum and uncle, Peter Naylor, in June.
The bones were rescued from their watery grave by photographer Mr Naylor who pulled the skull out of the water.
Mrs Welham, who lives in Heacham with husband Nick and nine-year-old son Owen, said: “We could see the row of teeth and the eye sockets.
“It has really brought it home to him that he can find treasure.”
The family worked out that they had discovered a wild boar skull through the Natural History museum website.
Charley Pig, who now sits on the dining room table, was given an outing to Lynn Museum at the weekend.
Nathan also gave a presentation to his classmates about the skull before the summer holidays.
Mrs Welham said: “Nathan is so pleased with it.
“He is planning to keep it at home.”
Nathan said he chose the name Charlie as he likes it.
Lynn Museum expert Oliver Bone examined the skull during a session on Sunday.
He said: “It is an exciting find and in very good condition.
“It was a young animal as some of the teeth have not come through.
“We feel the skull dates to the tail end of the Ice Age when things were starting to warm up.
“It was a brilliant find.”
Wild boar were not the only species running around prehistoric Norfolk.
Over the years, bones of monkeys, sabre-tooth tigers and even a mammoth have been uncovered around the county.
The mammoth was discovered in 1990 by Harold and Margaret Hems during a walk on the beach at West Runton.
It is now on display in Norwich.