Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stone Age Hand Axes

Jan Meulmeester of the Netherlands, an amateur archaeologist, recently discovered 28 Stone Age hand axes in marine sand and gravel collected at the bottom of the North Sea.

The tools are estimated at about 100,000 years old, and were probably used to kill animals, considering that they were found with teeth, tusks, and fragments of mammoth bones. During the ice-age periods of the Paleolithic era, which ended about 10,000 years ago, the sea levels were much lower, and the North Sea was actually a grassland hunting ground.

The most impressive element to this find is the condition of the axes. "These axes are absolutely immaculate. They are as crisp as the day they were used," said Phil Harding of the U.K. nonprofit Wessex Archaeology. The 5 to 10 meters of gravel covering them provided the perfect environment for their preservation.

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