The earliest securely-dated hominin artefact in Anatolia?

D. Maddy*, D. Schreve, T. Demir, A. Veldkamp, J. R. Wijbrans, W. van Gorp, D. J J van Hinsbergen, M. J. Dekkers, R. Scaife, J. M. Schoorl, C. Stemerdink, T. van der Schriek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Anatolia lies at the gateway from Asia into Europe and has frequently been favoured as a route for Early Pleistocene hominin dispersal. Although early hominins are known to have occupied Turkey, with numerous finds of Lower Palaeolithic artefacts documented, the chronology of their dispersal has little reliable stratigraphical or geochronological constraint, sites are rare, and the region's hominin history remains poorly understood as a result. Here, we present a Palaeolithic artefact, a hard-hammer flake, from fluvial sediments associated with the Early Pleistocene Gediz River of Western Turkey. This previously documented buried river terrace sequence provides a clear stratigraphical context for the find and affords opportunities for independent age estimation using the numerous basaltic lava flows that emanated from nearby volcanic necks and aperiodically encroached onto the contemporary valley floors. New 40Ar/39Ar age estimates from these flows are reported here which, together with palaeomagnetic measurements, allow a tightly-constrained chronology for the artefact-bearing sediments to be established. These results suggest that hominin occupation of the valley occurred within a time period spanning ~1.24Ma to ~1.17Ma, making this the earliest, securely-dated, record of hominin occupation in Anatolia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Early online date20 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Hominin occupation
  • Quaternary
  • River terraces
  • Turkey


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