Archaeologists from Britain traveling in Turkey made a groundbreaking discovery this week, when they stumbled upon a find of a lifetime – a 1.2 million year old stone tool that was likely used by our human ancestors. The archaeological discovery gives never-before known information about one of the most mysterious points of human prehistory: the Pleistocene epoch, the era of the Erectus.
According to Sci-news, a five centimeter-long quartz stone was found along the banks of the Gediz river in Western Turkey. The location of the tool indicates that humans may have traveled from Asia to Europe at a much earlier date. This answers questions regarding humans’ movement across the Anatolian peninsula, an event in human prehistory that remains murky among scientists.
Danielle Schreve of the University of London was the discoverer of the tool, and is the co-author of the study involving the prestigious find. Schreve recalled the events that led to her discovery of the stone.
“The flake was an incredibly exciting find. 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 artifact were immediately apparent.”
Researchers have suggested that the stone tool’s discovery explains much about the time and location of early human disposal into Europe.
Shreve added, “[O]ur research suggests that the flake is the earliest securely-dated artifact from Turkey ever recorded and was dropped on the floodplain by an early hominin well over a million years ago.”
Darrel Maddy of Newcastle University, who is the lead author of the study, says “although the find of an individual struck flake may not in itself be unusual, the observation is significant because we can assign a precise time range to the artifact and thus the presence of hominins.”
To inquiries that the stone structure may have just appeared geologically through natural means, Maddy says, “We observed markings on the flake that clearly suggest it had been struck with force by a hard hammer or other stone tool, making it highly unlikely that it was shaped by natural processes.”
“This quartzitic flake was then dropped on the floodplain of an active river meander. That meander cut through lavas with age estimates of 1.24 million years and was finally abandoned as a response to damming of the river downstream by a younger lava flow dated to 1.17 million years. This makes it the earliest securely-dated artifact from Turkey yet reported,” Maddy added
The discovery is further detailed on the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.
[Image from the Royal Holloway University of London]