Discovering an artifact more than 300,000 years old, scientists are confused and cannot explain the size

Discovering an artifact more than 300,000 years old, scientists are confused and cannot explain the size 2

The Insider newspaper reported on July 6 that two giant prehistoric handaxes, one of which was more than 30cm long, were discovered in deep Ice Age sediments in Southern England.

The 300,000-year-old tools, which are rough-looking stones chipped on both sides, were found among more than 800 artifacts buried in a hillside above the Medway Valley, in the south-eastern county of Kent

The two large handaxes found had a distinctive shape with a long, finely worked pointed tip, and a much thicker base.

Senior archaeologist Letty Ingrey of the UCL Institute of Archeology said in a press release: `We describe these tools as ‘giants’ because they are over 22cm long and only have two pieces

Ingrey, who took part in the excavation, said the larger of the two tools, about 30.4cm long, was `one of the longest axes ever found in Britain`.

Huge handaxes like this are commonly found in the Thames and Medway region and date back more than 300,000 years ago.

Archaeologists believe that these types of tools were often used to butcher or skin animals.

But these particular hand axes `are so large that it’s hard to imagine how they could have been easily held and used by our ancestors,` Ingrey said.

Discovering an artifact more than 300,000 years old, scientists are confused and cannot explain the size

“Perhaps they were made for a more uncommon or symbolic purpose than other tools, a clear demonstration of power and skill,” she said.

Also according to a press release from the UCL Institute of Archaeology, more than 300,000 years ago, the Medway Valley site was a hunting ground for deer and horses, as well as elephants and straight-tusked lions (now extinct).

“To this day, we are still not sure why such large tools were created or which early humans created them,” Ingrey said.

The site is thought to date back to early British prehistory when Neanderthals and their culture first emerged and may even have shared their habitat with other early humans.

At this time, the Medway Valley offers a wild landscape of wooded hills and river valleys.

Discovering an artifact more than 300,000 years old, scientists are confused and cannot explain the size

Although archaeological finds from this era have been found in the Medway Valley before, this is the first time they have been found as part of a large-scale excavation, providing the opportunity to collect more

Dr Matt Pope, UCL Institute of Archaeology, said: `The excavations have given us an incredibly valuable opportunity to study how the entire Ice Age landscape evolved millions of years ago.

A program of scientific analysis, involving experts from UCL and other UK institutions, will now help us understand why the site was important to ancient people and how

Researchers are currently actively working to better understand who created these ancient items and what purpose they were used for.

Discovering an artifact more than 300,000 years old, scientists are confused and cannot explain the size

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