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Europe’s oldest stone hand axes emerge in Spain

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Author Topic: Europe’s oldest stone hand axes emerge in Spain  (Read 117 times)
Trina Demario
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« on: September 03, 2009, 01:39:22 am »

Other European hand ax sites date to no more than 500,000 years ago. In contrast, hand axes date to roughly 1.7 million years ago in eastern Africa. And age estimates of 1.2 million years and 800,000 years for hand axes from two Israeli sites indicate that this tool-making style spread out of Africa long before the origin of Homo sapiens around 200,000 years ago. Excavations in southern China have also yielded 800,000-year-old hand axes (SN: 3/4/00, p. 148). Fossils from ancient human ancestors have not been found with the Israeli and Chinese artifacts.

Earlier analyses of magnetic reversals in soil at other sites in southern Spain indicate that single-edged stone tools appeared there around 1.3 million years ago, Gibert says (SN: 1/4/97, p. 12). Population movements back and forth between Africa and Europe must have occurred at that time, possibly via vessels across the Strait of Gibraltar, he hypothesizes.

“Then at 900,000 years ago, we now have the oldest evidence of hand axes in Europe, which represents a second migration from Africa that brought a new stone-tool culture,” Gibert says.
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