A recent discovery in Pakefield, Suffolk, England, of stone tool artefacts has now led to the possibility of a new theory that Homo erectus arrived in northern Europe earlier than first believed. European Homo erectus site dates vary with the oldest being at Dmanisi (Republic of Georgia), dating 1.6 million years ago, while the Spanish site at Gran Dolina dates back to 780 000 years ago. However the oldest known English site, before the find at Pakefield, was at Boxgrove and had only been dated to 500 000 years ago. By dating the alluvial sediments surrounding the artefacts, the Pakefield site dates approximately 700 000 years ago.
These artefacts were discovered by Simon Pafitt from the AHOB (Ancient Human Occupation of Britain) and his international team and consist of a core, retouched flake, unretouched flakes and debitage of black flint. All 32 pieces found so far indicate evidence of early stone tool technology and production. The artefacts were excavated from four different sections of what was once a stream channel during the Early Pleistocene period. As the excavation site was a stream channel, it is an indication that the area itself was not the actual occupation site but rather that the artefacts had instead settled on the channel floor after being washed downstream. As the dating of the items resulted from the alluvial sediments surrounding them, the location of the artefacts is not a problem because they are as old, if not older, than the deposits surrounding them.
Rather than disproving the ‘Out of Africa’ theory of Hominid evolution, the dating of the sites found within England and other areas of Europe it is evident that Homo erectus migrated to these areas rather than evolving from them. Further evidence supporting this is that the oldest Homo erectus remains discovered to date were excavated from Koobi Fora, Kenya.