Europe’s earliest bone tools found in Britain
By Paul Rincon; Science editor, BBC News website
Archaeologists say they’ve identified the earliest known bone tools in the European archaeological record.
The implements come from the renowned Boxgrove site in West Sussex, which was excavated in the 1980s and 90s.
The bone tools came from a horse that humans butchered at the site for its meat.
Flakes of stone in piles around the animal suggest at least eight individuals were making large flint knives for the job.
Researchers also found evidence that other people were present nearby – perhaps younger or older members of a community – shedding light on the social structure of our ancient relatives.
There’s nothing quite like Boxgrove elsewhere in Britain: during excavations, archaeologists uncovered hundreds of stone tools, along with animal bones, that dated to 500,000 years ago.
They were made by the species Homo heidelbergensis, a possible ancestor for modern humans and Neanderthals.
Researchers found a shin bone belonging to one of them – it’s the oldest human bone known from Britain.