June 2, 2013

New Acheulean date in Europe: 800,000 to one million years ago

St. Acheul's namesake biface
(CC by Didier Descouens)
A new date obtained in the Catalan site of Boella confirms very old presence of Acheulean stone technology (and therefore, inferred, of Homo ergaster, common ancestor of Neanderthals and our species) in SW Europe, up to one million years ago.

In 2009 it was also reported comparably old dates for this key techno-culture in SE Iberia, specifically c. 780,000 BP in Zamborino (Andalusia) and 900,000 BP in Cueva Negra (Murcia). So this date should not be any surprise, however it confirms the overall scenario for a very old Acheulean in the Iberian peninsula.

Acheulean technology, usually associated with H. ergaster, appeared first in Africa c. 1.6 Ma ago, and spread to Palestine c. 1.4 Ma ago, with South Asian and Iberian sites following in antiquity (surely both older than 800,000 BP).

Source: CEICS.

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