'Goosebump moment' couple uncover mammoth graveyard in Swindon to form new Attenborough documentary

  • Watch Ken Goodwin's report

A Swindon couple have made one of the most important archaeological finds in recent history after they discovered the fossil of a mammoth in a quarry near their home.

When they realised the scale of the trove, Neville and Sally Hollingworth immediately called in archaeologists who soon unearthed the bones of five ice-age mammoths.

The couple's discovery was so remarkable that it's been turned into a documentary fronted by Sir David Attenborough.

It started when Neville and Sally Hollingworth asked quarry owners the Hills Group for permission to search their land.

The documentary with David Attenborough will air on 30 December. Credit: BBC/Windfall

They then found a huge leg bone which led to the eventual discovery of a whole herd of mammoths.

"I recognised it as bone but what I didn’t realise was how large this piece of bone was that we were digging for.

"And I thought usually we just find fragments but this was pretty well complete. It belongs to a female Mammoth from at least 200,000 years ago", Sally said.

But Sally also made a discovery at the site which was to thrill archaeologists - a flint cutting tool which may have been used to butcher the animals to provide a group of neanderthals with food.

The couple also discovered a Neanderthal cutting tool.

"I held it just for a few seconds and even now it’s still a goosebump moment for me.

"You sort of think 'who held this before I touched it'? And you think 'I’m the first person to touch this in maybe 200,000 years'." 

The DigVenture archaeological team called in by the couple say the importance of the find cannot be underestimated. 

Lisa Westcott Wilkins from DigVentures said: "It's very rare to find a site where you have animals as well as human evidence preserved so completely so this site is internationally important because it gives us so much well preserved evidence into a window of time."

  • Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard will air on BBC One at 8pm on December 30.