Paleolithic Site in England Dated With Infrared-Radiofluorescence

England Flint ArtifactsCAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—According to a statement released by the University of Cambridge, new excavations at a site in Canterbury that was discovered in the 1920s have allowed an international team of researchers to date the presence of Homo heidelbergensis in southern England to between 520,000 and 620,000 years ago, a warmer period when Britain was still attached to Europe. In addition to the hand axes that were initially recovered from the ancient riverbed, the researchers, led by Alastair Key of the University of Cambridge, unearthed flint scrapers and piercing implements. Tobias Lauer of the University of Tübingen and his colleagues employed infrared-radiofluorescence dating to determine when the site’s feldspar sand grains had last been exposed to sunlight and thus when the artifacts had been buried. “The artifacts are precisely where the ancient river placed them, meaning we can say with confidence that they were made before the river moved to a different area of the valley,” Lauer explained. Homo heidelbergensis may have traveled to the region during the summer months to hunt and prepare animal hides for use as clothing or shelter, added Tomos Proffitt of the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Royal Society Open Science. For more on Homo heidelbergensis, go to “Our Tangled Ancestry.”

Source: archaeology.org

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