Oldest stone tool ever found in Turkey discovered

Date:

Share post:

Scientists have discovered the oldest recorded stone tool ever to be found in Turkey, revealing that humans passed through the gateway from Asia to Europe much earlier than previously thought, approximately 1.2 million years ago.

Oldest stone tool ever found in Turkey discovered
Stone tool approximately 1.2 million years old [Credit: University of Royal 
Holloway London]

According to research published in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews, the chance find of a humanly-worked quartzite flake, in ancient deposits of the river Gediz, in western Turkey, provides a major new insight into when and how early humans dispersed out of Africa and Asia.

Researchers from Royal Holloway, University of London, together with an international team from the UK, Turkey and the Netherlands, used high-precision equipment to date the deposits of the ancient river meander, giving the first accurate timeframe for when humans occupied the area.

Professor Danielle Schreve, from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, said: “This discovery is critical for establishing the timing and route of early human dispersal into Europe. Our research suggests that the flake is the earliest securely-dated artefact from Turkey ever recorded and was dropped on the floodplain by an early hominin well over a million years ago.”

The researchers used high-precision radioisotopic dating and palaeomagnetic measurements from lava flows, which both pre-date and post-date the meander, to establish that early humans were present in the area between approximately 1.24 million and 1.17 million years ago. Previously, the oldest hominin fossils in western Turkey were recovered in 2007 at Koçabas, but the dating of these and other stone tool finds were uncertain.

“The flake was an incredibly exciting find,” Professor Schreve said. “I had been studying the sediments in the meander bend and my eye was drawn to a pinkish stone on the surface. When I turned it over for a better look, the features of a humanly-struck artefact were immediately apparent.

“By working together with geologists and dating specialists, we have been able to put a secure chronology to this find and shed new light on the behaviour of our most distant ancestors.”

Source: University of Royal Holloway London [December 23, 2014]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

1st centure BC brick stupa unearthed in Srikakulam

Recent excavations conducted at Jagathipadu village in Polaki mandal of Srikakulam district by the archaeology department brought to...

Swiss return 5th Dynasty stela

Switzerland's Museum of Basel will this week return to Egypt a limestone stele dating from over four thousand...

Infectious diseases were carried along the Silk Road

An ancient latrine near a desert in north-western China has revealed the first archaeological evidence that travellers along...

The birth and death of a tectonic plate

Several hundred miles off the Pacific Northwest coast, a small tectonic plate called the Juan de Fuca is...

Excavations begin at submerged Bronze Age settlement at Italy’s Lake Viverone

The first underwater excavation of an important World Heritage Site is to go ahead as part of a...

Well-preserved flank of Roman ship found at Ostia

An ancient ship has emerged from the ground at the Imperial Roman port of Ostia in a find...

Centuries-old ovarian tumour discovered in Lisbon grave

Archaeologists excavating a graveyard in Portugal have discovered an ovarian tumour that is hundreds of years old. The...

Unique model simulates electron environment in space at 36000 km above the Earth

A spacecraft at near-Earth orbit is continuously bombarded by charged particles. Finnish Meteorological Institute has developed a unique...