Scientists have found that the first hand axes in Britain were not created by Homo sapiens

As it turned out, these tools date back to 560,000 and 620,000 BC.

In their recent study, scientists found that flint axes dating back about 600,000 years ago are irrefutable evidence that communities in the south of Britain flourished much earlier than previously thought. But, most interestingly, they were not made by Homo Sapiens, writes IFLS.

In fact, these bone scraping tools were the work of Homo heidelbergensis, the extinct ancestor of the Neanderthals. The artifacts were originally discovered in the suburbs of Canterbury in the 1920s by local workers, but thanks to modern technology, experts have finally revealed their true age.

Homo heidelbergensis, skull, photo

Homo heidelbergensis skull

So the researchers learned that the tools were created approximately 560,000 and 620,000 years ago. Human extinct ancestors are thought to have first set foot in the British Isles sometime between 840,000 and 950,000 years ago, but these early visits were temporary.

This latest find supports the idea that H. Heidelbergensis settled in Britain between 560,000 and 620,000 years ago. Meanwhile, H. Heidelbergensis reached the far reaches of Eurasia hundreds of thousands of years ago. With their large skulls and wider bodies, they are well adapted to survive in colder environments. As we can see from the new finds, they were also skilled craftsmen and used tools.

ancient people, drawing, photo

Homo heidelbergensis through the eyes of an artist

Among the original artifacts found by scientists were many hand axes, which are among the earliest hand axes ever discovered in Europe.

New finds at the site also include a scraper used to process leather, fur, and meat from animal carcasses. Little is known about the species’ first visits to Britain, but the abundance of tools certainly suggests that they were very comfortable there.

Recall that after studying 26 flint tools found in the Evron quarry, experts have concluded that ancient people made fire much earlier than is commonly believed – from 800,000 to 1 million years.

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