LONDON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- After a series of sophisticated dating techniques, scientists can confirm the discovery of the oldest stone tool ever found in Turkey. The find pushes back the timeline for when ancient humans first made their way from Asia into Europe.
The human-worked quartzite flake, dated at roughly 1.2 million years old, was recovered by an international team of geologists and archaeologists studying the ancient deposits of Gediz, a river in western Turkey. The scientists, hailing from the United Kingdom, Turkey and the Netherlands, say the discovery offers new insight into the ancient migration of populations out of Africa and Asia and into Europe.
"This discovery is critical for establishing the timing and route of early human dispersal into Europe," Danielle Schreve, a professor in the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, said in a recent press release. "Our research suggests that the flake is the earliest securely-dated artifact from Turkey ever recorded and was dropped on the floodplain by an early hominin well over a million years ago."
The work of Schreve and his colleagues was detailed this week in the latest issue of the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.
"By working together with geologists and dating specialists, we have been able to put a secure chronology to this find and shed new light on the behavior of our most distant ancestors," Schreve concluded.