A MAMMOTH tusk discovered during an unusually low tide off Mersea Island could be up to 12,000 years old, experts believe.

The two-metre long tusk dates back to the Devensian, or last glacial period.

Members of the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN) found the tusk during a field walk along the beach, near Cooper’s beach Holiday Park.

The rare low tide allowed them to explore the area and the tusk was exposed for just 30 minutes.

It was too fragile to lift so archaeologists had to take pictures and samples to enable them to make a 3D model.

A total of seven samples were taken o above, around and below the tusk to help understand more about how it tusk ended up there, separated from the mammoth itself.

Project officer Stephanie Ostrich said the Natural History Museum in London had been analysing the samples, since the find in March 2017.

She added: “The report states that the size and weight of the tusk must mean that it is still more or less in the same position as when the animal foundered.

“This was then probably a marsh or freshwater channel.

“So it would seem our Mersea mammoth hasn’t travelled far in 12,000 years, but the original landscape it was in has changed around it as the sea rose to meet it.”

The discovery was made early in the morning last March when a group

noticed the sunken ivory tusk.

The area it was found on was a spit - gravel on clay bedrock.

Upon spotting it the group realised it was too large to be anything else.

Ms Ostrich runs projects across the country for CITiZAN from a London base.

She is supported by the Museum of London Archaeology.

CITiZAN exists to highlight the threat to a wealth of coastal and estuarine sites, most of which have no statutory protection.

There is an established infrastructure and network of volunteers dedicated to discovering, monitoring and promoting the significant, fragile and threatened archaeological sites around England’s coast and on the foreshores of our tidal estuaries.

Mammoths are understood to have roamed from about five million years ago to 4,500 years ago.

The period of time commonly referred to as the Ice Age, but in reality one of many, reached its peak about 18,000 years ago, it is believed.