Neanderthal may have not been the oldest Dutchman

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Washington, March 27 (ANI): New evidence has emerged which suggests that Neanderthals were not the oldest Dutchmen, as it points out to the fact that the country had human inhabitants much before the time of the Neanderthals.

According to a report in Radio Netherlands Worldwide, amateur archaeologist Pieter Stoel found materials used by the oldest inhabitants in the central town of Woerden.

These artifacts were shown to be at least 370,000 years old, which takes us back to long before the time of the Neanderthals.

Our ancient forebears are often described as cavemen but that is not entirely accurate.

There were no caves in this environment, explained Pieter Stoel.

"No, they cannot be specifically described as cave dwellers. There were no caves here in the Low Countries. They can best be described as people who travelled through the country along the rivers, where they could easily hunt the animals that came to the water to drink," he said.

"At the time when they possibly roamed the Netherlands, the North Sea was dry, which would have enabled them to walk to England for example," he added.

Pieter Stoel describes the find in Woerden as unique.

"It consists of splinters and cores of flint. There are no hand axes, as they were not used by this culture. These items were sucked out of a sump pit at a depth of between 27 and 36 metres," he said.

Research institute TNO has studied the layers of soil and determined the age of the objects raised during the dredging work.

The remarkable conclusion is that they are at least 370,000 years old.

"That's a record. They may even be up to 600,000 years old, but that's something we have yet to prove," Stoel said.

Follow-up research is needed to show whether the artifacts actually come from the layers at the bottom of the pit or whether they were shifted by the dredging work.

A layer-by-layer study is now being carried out to see which artifacts are located where.

Pieter Stoel's discovery may end up rewriting history.

Until now, the assumption was that the ancestors of the Dutch walked from France to England and only arrived in the Netherlands at a later date.

But the archaeologist now thinks the opposite might be just as plausible.

"There may even have been various migration flows. There may well have been people who made hand axes and who migrated from France to England. But it is also plausible that people whose culture did not include the hand axe arrived in England from Europe, via Germany and the Netherlands," said Stoel. (ANI)

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