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Fitting venue for Cheddar cave-man family get together

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 28, 2013

Craig Dent, right with long-lost relative Adrian Targett. They chat with an actor dressed as their relative from 9,000 year's ago – Cheddar Man

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It was a family gathering that had been a mere 9,000 years in the making and one of the parties was looking decidedly the worse for wear.

Craig Dent had flown half way round the world to meet his distant relative, Cheddar history teacher Adrian Targett, and their even more distant ancestor, Stone Age Cheddar Man.

They were reunited in Gough's Cave, Cheddar yesterday where Cheddar Man's skeleton has lain since he died, possibly from a blow to the head.

The unique union was made possible by 192.com, the UK's leading people-finding website which helped Mr Dent, from Melbourne, Australia, find Mr Targett.

Cheddar Man, considered Britain's oldest complete skeleton, was found in the Cave in 1903. Genetic fingerprinting undertaken in 1997 found that some of his descendants, including Mr Targett, a teacher at Cheddar's Kings of Wessex School, were still living in the area. His link with Cheddar Man goes back through the female line.

As Mr Dent stood beside the pit where his ancestor lies he said: "I also share the same DNA with Adrian. Though my paternal ancestors left the UK and arrived in Australia in 1860, my maternal ancestors left the UK and arrived in Australia in 1911.

"It is my maternal ancestors that link me with the Cheddar Man. I had been researching the family history for many years and first visited the UK in 2008.

"With the recent discovery of my DNA and the link with Adrian Targett, I contacted 192.com to try to obtain his address and telephone number.

"I knew Adrian lived in Cheddar, but I needed 192.com to find his up-to-date contact details so I could arrange a reunion with him.

"I knew through my research that my links to the Bristol region dated back many hundreds of years on both my paternal and maternal linages.

"However, I was surprised to learn, through my DNA, that my link with the region dates back many thousands of years. When I first spoke with Adrian and other distant relatives in Stoke Gifford and Winterbourne, the heartland of my paternal link to the region, I was humbled by their kindness and warmth.

"Saying I am excited by the prospect of meeting them is an understatement. 192.com's services were invaluable in assisting me to bring these connections to life.

"I consider Bristol and its surrounds very much a part of my story, I feel a strong link to the area and have taken a keen interest in it.

"I enjoy being there and feel quite at home and am looking forward to returning."

"We were thrilled when we learnt of Mr Dent's search," said Dominic Blackburn, 192.com'sproduct director.

He added: "By accessing 192.com's huge database with over four times more residential listings than the UK phonebook, Craig could find his man.

"We reunite scores of families and friends a year but it's rare to reunite people linking back to the dawn of civilisation."

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