By Efsun Erbalaban Yilmaz
IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – Archaeologists have unearthed stone tools and bones dating back a staggering 14,000 years during excavations in a cave in Turkey's Aegean Izmir province.
A team of Turkish and German scientists found that the cave was used as a cult center dedicated to the mother goddess Cybele from as far back as the 6th century BC and until the Roman era.
Layers from the Epipaleolithic Period – also known as Mesolithic – were discovered in the region during surface exploration carried out in tandem with Pergamon (Bergama) excavations by the German Archaeological Institute.
The stone tools and bones found in the layers were determined to be 14,000 years old after laboratory tests using the radiocarbon dating method.
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Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Felix Pirson, director of the German Archaeological Institute, said the first remains of the Epipaleolithic Period were discovered in western Anatolia during their work.
Saying that it was a great surprise to find such prehistoric layers in a cave discovered between Dikili and Bergama, Pirson said: "The stone tools and bones belonged to an era dating back 14,000 years old."
Pirson added that the latest finds in the cave come from the more recent Byzantine and Ottoman eras.
The artifacts are being examined as part of a long-term study funded by the German Research Institute and supervised by Nilgun Ustura, the director of Turkey’s Pergamon Museum.
* Writing by Seda Sevencan