Newly discovered stone tools drag dawn of Greek archaeology back by a quarter-million years

This undated photo provided by the Greek Culture Ministry on Thursday, June 1, 2023 shows the skull of a member of the deer family at an open coal mine in Megalopolis, southern Greece. The Culture Ministry said that a five-year international project in Megalopolis has uncovered the oldest-known archaeological site in the country dating to about 700,000 years ago, pushing back the dawn of Greek archaeology by up to 250,000 years. (Greek Culture Ministry via AP)

Deep in an open coal mine in southern Greece, researchers have discovered the antiquities-rich country's oldest archaeological site, which dates to 700,000 years ago and is associated with modern humans' hominin ancestors.

The find announced Thursday would drag the dawn of Greek archaeology back by as much as a quarter of a million years, although older hominin sites have been discovered elsewhere in Europe. The oldest, in Spain, dates to more than a million years ago.

The Greek site was one of five investigated in the Megalopolis area during a five-year project involving an international team of experts, a Culture Ministry statement said.

It was found to contain rough stone tools from the Lower Palaeolithic period — about 3.3 million to 300,000 years ago — and the remains of an extinct species of giant deer, elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceros and a macaque...

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