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Elephant butchering site found from early Paleolithic, 600-300 kya

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elephant bones exposed/Greek Ministry of Culture

From Science Daily:

The researchers found stone tools, which the early hunters are likely to have used to cut the meat from the bones. “That makes Megalopolis the only site in the Balkans where we have evidence of an elephant being butchered in the early Paleolithic,” says Professor Katerina Harvati of the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (HEP) at the University of Tübingen.

“Despite this crucial geographic position, Paleoanthropological and Paleolithic research has been under-represented in the region due to a traditional focus on later prehistory and Classical times. As a result, very little information exists on the Lower Paleolithic of Greece. Marathousa 1 is of paramount importance for the understanding of human dispersal patterns into Europe, as well as the adaptations and behavior of early humans in the region,” says Harvati.More.

See also: The search for our earliest ancestors: signals in the noise

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Here’s the Introduction:

Lower Palaeolithic evidence in Greece is sparse and consists of unprovenanced finds or sites with material deriving from secondary contexts (Tourloukis & Karkanas 2012). The basin of Megalopolis, Greece, has long been known for its Pleistocene fossiliferous sediments (e.g. Melentis 1961). Early human activity is suggested by a hominin tooth collected as a surface find (see Harvati et al. 2009), as well as by observations of lithic artefacts (Darlas 2003). Nevertheless, systematic archaeological research has been lacking to date. Here, we report the first results from the excavation of ‘Marathousa 1’, a primary-context open-air site from Megalopolis. Open access – Eleni Panagopoulou, Vangelis Tourloukis, Nicholas Thompson, Athanassios Athanassiou, Georgia Tsartsidou, George E. Konidaris, Domenico Giusti, Panagiotis Karkanas, Katerina Harvati. Marathousa 1: a new Middle Pleistocene archaeological site from Greece. Antiquity, February 2015, Issue 343

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