Researchers announced Thursday that the timeline of Greece’s history needs to be pushed back by at least a quarter million years after a shocking discovery deep inside an open coal mine.
Archaeologists uncovered the nation’s oldest archaeological site, which dates back at least 700,000 years. It is thought to be associated with some of our earliest hominin ancestors, according to The Associated Press. Although older archaeological sites have been uncovered in other parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, this is the first major discovery of this age in Greece, and may completely rewrite aspects of the nation’s human history.
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The site contained rough stone tools from the Lower Palaeolithic period, roughly 3.3 million to 300,000 years ago, The AP noted. The remains of extinct creatures, such as giant deer, elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, and macaque monkeys, were also found at the site.
More work is needed to determine the exact date, “however, [archaeologists] will not be able to be sure until hominin fossil remains are recovered,” the project director Panagiotis Karkanas said, according to The AP. “(The site) is the oldest currently known hominin presence in Greece, and it pushes back the known archaeological record in the country by up to 250,000 years.”
For example, in February 2023, a discovery in southern France suggested that humans began hunting in the region some 45,000 to 42,000 years ago. Further analysis of the Greek site could push this date back by hundreds of thousands of years. (RELATED: Scientists Make Shocking Discovery Under Antarctica’s Ice)
The area where the tools were discovered has long been linked to ancient Greek legends, such as that of an ancient race of giants who fought the gods of Olympus, The AP noted. Ancient writers even described the area as the site of a major supernatural war.