New archaeological evidence published by the journal Science indicates humans presence in North Africa at least 2.4 million years ago, so about 600,000 years earlier than previously thought.
Excavations and intensive investigations performed the Ain Boucherit site in north eastern Algeria, located north of El Eulma city, yielded more than 250 stone tools and almost 600 fossil remains. A wide range of animals was identified, including elephants, horses, rhinos, hippos, wild antelopes, pigs, hyenas, and crocodiles. There are also mostly chopping tools and sharp-edged cutting tools made of limestone and flint used for processing animal carcasses. They are typical of the Oldowan stone tool technology known from East African sites and dated to between 2.6 million and 1.9 million years ago. Some of the fossil bones show very specific marks that could not be of natural origin, but rather the result of an intentional activity.
North Africa archaeological excavations
The discovery proves, as a consequence, the first settlements of the southern margin of the Mediterranean area appear to be much older than their northern counterparts. No hominin fossils were found at the site and their presence in North Africa is extremely poor. But several hominins in East Africa are broadly contemporaneous with Ain Boucherit. Future excavation at Ain Boucherit is supposed will give the opportunity to identify the stone toolmakers.