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North Africa’s Oldest Stone Age Hand-axe Manufacturing Site Found

The find pushes back by hundreds of thousands of years the start date in north Africa of the Acheulian stone-tool industry, associated with the human ancestor Homo erectus, researchers told journalists in Rabat on Wednesday. The discovery was made during excavations at a quarry on the outskirts of Morocco’s economic capital, Casablanca. This “contributes to enriching the debate on the emergence of the Acheulian in Africa,” said Abderrahim Mohib, the co-director of the Franco-Moroccan prehistory of Casablanca programme. The 17-strong team behind the discovery comprised Moroccan, French and Italian researchers, and their findings are based on the study of stone tools extracted from the site. Earlier humans had made do with more primitive pebble tools, known as Oldowan, after their east African-type site. Research at the Casablanca site has been carried out for decades, and has “delivered one of the richest Acheulian assemblages in Africa”, said Mohib. “It is very important because we are talking about prehistoric time, a complex period for which little data exists.”