A team of archaeologists has uncovered the oldest known boon tools in Europe. The tools were found in the Boxgrove site, which is located in West Sussex and has offered a generous amount of artifacts over the years.
Fragments of bone, which could be found in piles around the animals, infer that a minimal number of eight individuals crafted and used large flint knives. There is also evidence which infers that other members of the community were around, offering more information about ancient social relationships.
A veritable treasure-trove
Boxgrove is unique among British archeological sites as excavations that took place over time have revealed an impressive amount of stone tools and animal bones that can be traced back to more than 500,000 ago. These tools were crafted by Homo heidelbergensis, which is thought to be an ancestor of modern humans.
According to one of the archaeologists who contributed to the research, the opportunity to find a butchering site in such a good state is quite rare. The event took place near the border of coastal marshland, and the entire community contributed to the task in one way or another.
A glimpse of the past
More than half a million years ago, the area was an inter-tidal marshland located on what is the modern southern British coastline. A degrading cliff offered excellent rocks for knapping, the process of making stone tools.
The silt was abundant in the area, facilitating the presence of grass and attracting herbivores. However, it is not clear how the horse became lost. There are no signs of a hunt, but the body of the horse was processed thoroughly, with several bones being used to perfect the flint knives for further use, and proving that early human cultures were good at using tools to make other tools.
Butchering may have been a popular social event in the past.