Theopetra Cave Ancient Secret of the World’s Oldest Man :
Theopetra Cave : Neanderthals are one of the most interesting human subspecies that ever existed. These prehistoric people were stocky, muscular, with raised eyebrows and strangely upturned noses.
Neanderthals have been found in many caves across Europe, leading some archaeologists to believe that these ancient humans spent a lot of time in such places. Most experts agree that Neanderthals did not build these dwellings themselves, but must have used them long before modern humans did. However, this hypothesis may be untrue, since there is one exception – Theopetra Cave.
The Theopetra Cave
The Theopetra Cave, located in the Meteora limestone rock formations of Thessaly in central Greece, is believed to have been inhabited as early as 130,000 years ago, making it the site of the earliest human construction on Earth.
Archaeologists claim that there is evidence of continuous human occupation in the cave, dating all the way back to the time of the Middle Palaeolithic and continuing until the end of the Neolithic.
Location and structural details of Theopetra Cave
Situated approximately 100 meters (330 ft) above a valley, Theopetra Cave can be found on the northeastern slope of a limestone hill known as the “Theopetra Rock”. The entrance to the cave offers stunning views of the picturesque community of Theopetra, while the Lethios River, a branch of the Pineios River, flows not far away.
Geologists estimate that the limestone hill first formed between 137 and 65 million years ago, during the Upper Cretaceous period. According to the findings of archaeological excavations, the first evidence of human habitation of the cave dates back to the Middle Palaeolithic period, around 13,0000 years ago.
The cave is about 500 square meters (5,380 sq ft) in size and is depicted as roughly quadrangular in shape with small nooks on its periphery. The entrance to Theopetra Cave is quite large, which enables the abundance of natural light to penetrate well into the depths of the cave.
Remarkable discoveries reveal ancient secrets of Theopetra Cave
Excavations of Theopetra Cave began in 1987 and continued until 2007, and many notable discoveries have been made at this ancient site over the years. It should be noted that when the archaeological investigation was originally undertaken, Theopetra Cave was being used as a temporary shelter for local shepherds to keep their animals.
Theopetra cave archeology has produced many intriguing findings. One is related to the climate of the cave dwellers. The archaeologists determined that there were warm and cold spells during the cave’s occupation by analyzing sediment samples from each archaeological level. The population of the cave fluctuated as the climate changed.
Oldest wall in the world
The remains of a stone wall that previously closed part of the entrance to Theopetra Cave are another not able find there. Using a dating approach known as optically stimulated luminescence, scientists were able to date this wall to be approximately 23,000 years old.
Researchers believe that due to the age of this wall, which corresponds to the last ice age, the inhabitants of the cave may have built it to escape the cold. It has been claimed that it is the oldest known man-made structure in Greece, and possibly even in the world.
At least three hominid footprints carved into the soft clay floor of the cave were also announced to have been discovered. It is estimated that several Neanderthal children between the ages of two and four who lived in the cave during the Middle Palaeolithic made footprints based on their size and shape.
Avagi – 7,000-year-old teenage girl discovered in cave
One of the most important discoveries inside Theopetra Cave were the remains of a 7,000-year-old woman who lived in Greece during the Mesolithic period, about 18 million years ago. Scientists reconstructed the teenager’s face after years of intensive work, and she was given the name “Awgi” (Dawn).
Professor Papagrigorakis, an orthodontist, used Avagi’s teeth as a foundation for a complete reconstruction of his face. Given the lack of evidence, her clothing, especially her hair, was extremely difficult to reconstruct.