In the northeastern part of Sudan, 70 kilometres east of the city of Atbara, archaeologists have found stone tools that date back to more than 700,000 years to a million years ago. These tools were possibly used by Homo Erectus, the archaic human species which is now extinct, a study published in Plos One journal on March 23, 2021, found.
The study was conducted during 2019-2020. In 2019, the Eastern Desert Atbara River area, a site of archaeological importance termed EDAR – 7was excavated following the discovery of many open-pit mines by a gold rush. The study and dating of the monuments finished in July 2020.
The tools found at the site are the oldest traces of the presence of the Homo erectus(upright man) in the region. Homo erectus appeared about 2 million years ago in Africa and quickly dispersed through African tropics, Europe and South Asia. The tools were found in one of the abandoned gold mines. Among these tools, Splits or Splitting Es caught scientists’ attention. These are several kilogram heavy fist-like almond-shaped tools having cutaway edges that join at a pointed tip. These are the oldest among tools discovered in the region that are technologically so close to those discovered in equatorial Africa. The miners also found hand-axes and other tools.
The layers of Earth and sand monuments were dated using the Optically Stimulated Luminance (OSL) method and found to be about 390,000 years old. According to Mirosław Masojć, the Polish scientist who led the research, the layers below them must be older and depending on the style of execution of tools, they may be over 700,000 years old or even a million years.
Masojć believes that the presence of preserved flakes at the site of discovery indicates that the monument must have been a workshop where the tools were made and the flakes were created during their production.