Fifteen years ago Jean Rouvier discovered a pile of fossilized bones and teeth in a basalt quarry in the Herault Valley in southern France. A subsequent dig by Jerome Ivorra, a researcher at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, uncovered around 20 stone tools which bore traces of use.
The surprise came when argon dating showed the site went back 1.57 million years — substantially older than many other prehistoric sites — according to a paper published in the specialist journal, Comptes Rendus Palevol. It is older, for example, than the Spanish site at Atapuerca, which dates back a mere 1.2 to 1.1 million years. And as the paper pointed out, the existence of such man-made objects in Europe was extremely rare in this period. In comparison, the first such tools in East Africa date back to 2.5 million years ago, while human settlements in the Transcaucasia region date back to a 1.8 million years ago.
More digs at the site are scheduled for later this year. This is quite an exciting find.
Source: AFP France24.com