The “Thomas I” archaeological site, located near Morocco Mall in Casablanca, has been the subject of excavations and studies since the 1980s.
Rabat – A Moroccan-French scientific team has discovered ancient flint and quartzite tools dating back more than one million years in the “Thomas I” site in Casablanca, Morocco’s Ministry of Culture announced on June 8 in a press release.
The discovered small stone tools, not exceeding six centimeters in length, date back to the Acheulean civilization in Africa. The Acheulean civilization, estimated to have existed between 1.76 and 0.13 million years ago, is known for developing distinctive stone tools.
The newly-discovered flint stones were the product of a special technique known as bipolar reduction, which helps carve very small elongated tools from stones, the Ministry of Culture said.
Moroccan and French scientists made the discovery at the Acheulean archeological level in the “Thomas I” site, approximately 15 to 20 meters deep, which is at least one million years old.
Besides the tiny flint stones, archeologists working on the site also discovered biface stone axes, as well as large tools made of quartzite, such as three-faceted axes, spherical and polyhedron tools, and tools with concentric and circular sculptures on them, the press release continued.
The scientific team recently published the results of their discovery in the open-access journal Scientific Reports, the ministry said, explaining that the discovery gives insight on the technical and economic diversity of ancient Acheuleans in Africa and testifies to the civilization’s “innovative and adaptive” abilities.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the bipolar reduction technique was specific to Acheuleans and no other civilizations adopted a technique similar to it for at least 500,000 years.
The recent discovery was a collaborative effort between researchers from Morocco’s National Institute for Archaeological Sciences and Heritage, the Paul Valery University of Montpellier, the University of Bordeaux, and archeological operator Paleotime.
Archeologists have been researching the Acheulean level in the “Thomas I” site since the 1980s. Excavations on the site have led to several discoveries that have proven the existence of human populations from the Acheulean period in Morocco, the press release added.
“Taking into account the scientific and patrimonial importance of the ‘Thomas I’ archeological site, … the Ministry of Culture…, which monitors excavations and studies on different archeological levels, has the intention to launch a rehabilitation project to preserve the most ancient archeological site in Morocco, while ensuring the necessary conditions for scientific research,” the ministry concluded.