Friday, April 1, 2011


Petralona Cave

Petralona Cave was discovered by Filippos Chantzaridis from Petralona, a goat shepherd who heard the sound of water from a hole in the rocks. 
In 1959 some men from Petralona went to this place and dug a seven meter deep hole in the search of water. What they found was a cave.

In 1959 Ioannis Petrocheilos, a Greek speleologist, found numerous bones of animals in the cave, many of them covered with cave coral.
One year later a human skull was discovered by Christos Sarijannidis. The skull was hanging at the wall about 30cm above ground, where it was held by sinter.
The skull of an Archanthropus, a transitional type between Homo sapiens and Homo
erectus, was a scientific sensation. The discovery of the Archanthropus, the first one in Greece, showed that this cave was inhabited approximately 700,000 years ago.
This discovery was to make many scientists revise their views concerning the prehistoric inhabitants of Europe.
Researchers estimate that the Archanthropus skull, complete except for the lower jaw making it the oldest European. It is the skull of a man who died aged 32, a ripe old age by the standards of the time.

In the same cave were also found fossilised traces of the oldest fire ever lit by human hand, dated to about 1,000,000 years ago. The ancient hominids of Petralona lived here about a million years ago. They first entered the Petralona cave when the climate began to get colder, at the beginning of the Pleistocene, 1,700,000 years ago. The cave offered them shelter from the cold, as it has a constant temperature of 17ο C.
petralona cave chalkidiki greece
Visits to the cave & museum

The cave also contained bones from various animals including bear, hyena, rhinoceros, lion, deer, panther, 25 species of bird, 16 species of rodent and 17 species of bat. and other animals, are presented to visitors in the nearby Anthropological museum.
The Petralona Cave and the Antropological Museum are located in Petralona near Nea Moudania, at 300 metres above sea-level on the west foot of Mt. Katsika in Halkidikiand approximately 50 kilometers from Thessaloniki.

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