Million-year-old stone tools buried in gold mine may be the oldest prehistoric tools in Eastern Sahara

Archaeologists excavating in the mine.

A group of miners in Sudan earlier in the northeast of a gold mine, found some stone tools, a team of archaeologists from a university in Poland to study the results of a large number of stone tools unearthed in the ground. After examination and analysis, the team estimated that the stone tools may have millions of years of history, is the Eastern Sahara Desert is currently the oldest stone tools found. In addition, the site where the stone tools were unearthed may be the workshop where the Paleolithic erect apes made their stone tools.

Mirosław Masojc, an archaeologist at the University of Wrocław in Poland, led a team that studied hundreds of prehistoric stone tools from an open-pit gold mine about 72 kilometers east of Atbara, Sudan, including tools such as almond-shaped knives and axes, each weighing several kilograms.

The researchers used optical response cold light (OSL) technology to examine the sand piled on top of the stone tools to confirm their last exposure to daylight, and deduced that the sand had been piled up for 390,000 years. Masoitz said this means that the stone tools under the sand have a much longer history, possibly 700,000 or even 1 million years ago.

The team also found that the site still retains stone chips from tool making, inferring that the site may have been a tool making site. The discovery is a breakthrough in the study of the lives of ancient apes, as 200 sites between 60,000 and 500,000 years old have been found in the region so far. Masoitz added that the antiquities and tools unearthed in the desert area rarely remain intact, the stone tools unearthed this time are intact and very valuable, and he did not rule out the discovery of even older prehistoric antiquities in deeper locations of the mine, the study was published earlier in the scientific journal “PLOS One”.

The unearthed stone knives with different shapes of blades.