Giant handaxes suggest that different groups of early humans coexisted in ancient Europe

phys.org | 2/23/2018 | Staff
ajoy26 (Posted by) Level 3
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Even our earliest human ancestors made and used technology—something we can look back on thanks to the lasting nature of stone tools.

An exceptionally high density of giant handaxes dated to 200,000-300,000 years ago has been uncovered at an archaeological site in Galicia, northwest Spain. The findings are documented in a new article published by our international research team of archaeologists and dating specialists.

Discovery - Handaxes - Types - Stone - Tool

The discovery of these handaxes suggests that alternative types of stone tool technologies were simultaneously being used by different populations in this area – supporting the idea that a prehistoric "Game of Thrones" scenario existed as Neanderthals emerged in Europe.

Additional evidence for this idea comes from fossil records showing that multiple human lineages lived in southwest Europe around the same time period.

Porto - Maior - Town - As - Neves

Porto Maior is near the town of As Neves (Pontevedra, Galcia) on a terrace 34m above the current level of the Miño River, which borders northern Portugal and Spain.

The archaeological site at Porto Maior preserves an ancient stone tool culture known as the Acheulean. Characterised by symmetrically knapped stones or large flakes (known as bifaces), the Acheulean is the first sophisticated handaxe technology known in the early human settlement record of Europe.

Acheulean - Sites - Continent - Porto - Maior

While Acheulean sites are widespread across the continent, Porto Maior represents Europe's first extensive accumulation of large cutting tools (LCTs) in the Acheulean tradition. Until now, such high densities of LCTs had only been found in Africa. This new finding reinforces an African origin for the Acheulean in Europe, and confirms an overlap in time-frames of distinctly different stone tool cultures on the continent.

At around the same time that handaxes were being used at Porto Maior, a different stone tool tradition (the Early Middle Palaeolithic) was present in Iberia, for example at Ambrona and Cuesta de la Bajada. In central and eastern Europe – where tools...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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