Former schoolboy relives toothy discovery 30 years on

A former Oxfordshire schoolboy who came across the mighty jaw of a woolly mammoth while swimming in the Thames more than 30 years ago has been reunited with his discovery.

Richard Morgan was taking a dip with friends in Goring during the summer of 1983 when he trod on a strangely shaped object poking out of the river bed.

Peering through the murky water, he and his pals dug away the mud and dragged the monster mandible on to the river bank. It was later identified as that of a young mammoth which roamed more than 30,000 years ago.

The young Richard donated the object to Oxfordshire County Council’s Museum Service and never saw his mammoth again – until a family holiday this summer brought him back to the county from his present day home in the Czech Republic.


He said: “I decided it was time to meet up with the mammoth again and share some of the excitement of my discovery with my own children.”

After arriving in the UK, a quick call to the Oxfordshire Museum confirmed that his mammoth was on display there and within the hour Richard and his family were in Woodstock face-to-face with the jaw and reliving the experience of all those years ago.

Richard said: “I think my children thought I was telling them a fisherman’s tale, so it’s great to be able to show them the real thing with its huge teeth. It was caked in river mud the last time I saw it, so it was really nice to see it all cleaned up and on display in the Museum.”

Popular attraction

The museum’s curator Carol Anderson said: “I can imagine how excited Richard must have been by his incredible discovery. We are delighted that he donated it to the Museum Service all those years ago so that it can now be seen and enjoyed by visitors to the Oxfordshire Museum.

She added: “The mammoth jaw is a particular attraction for the many families who visit the museum each summer. It’s amazing to think that creatures like this were walking round what is now Oxfordshire more than 30,000 years ago.”

Richard now hopes that visiting the mammoth will become a family tradition. Perhaps next time he visits he’ll been bringing his grandchildren to share the tale of his amazing discovery.