Cave of Petralona

The cave of Petralona is located 1 km from the village of Petralona in the prefecture of Halkidiki. It is open to the public since 1979. Traces of about 700,000 years old ancient people have been discovered in this cave, which according to Aristides Poulianos (who discovered them) are the oldest traces of Europeans that have been discovered until now.

The cave was discovered on May 10 1959 by Filippos Hantzaridis and became known for its paleontological findings from 1960 after the accidental discovery of the famous fossilized human skull by the resident of Petralona Ch. Sarigiannidis. In 1968 and the period 1974-1988 excavations were made in the cave by the anthropologist Aris Poulianos.

In Poulianos's publications about the cave, there is talk of stone and bone tools. The findings are the first evidence of habitation in the Greek geographical area.

From an anthropological point of view, the fossilized skull is a very important finding, although there is no unanimity of experts on its dating and evaluation. The main views differ significantly, as one side considers it to belong to a man who lived about 700,000 years before today and the other 200,000 years before today.