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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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H. Heidelbergensis Preferred Island Life

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BELFAST, IRELAND—Researchers from the University of Southampton and Queen’s University, Belfast, have conducted a survey of 25 prehistoric sites in the United Kingdom and northwestern France. They found that between 500,000 and 200,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis preferred to live on islands in the flood plains of major rivers, where they would have had access to big herbivores that grazed on the rich grasses, water birds and plants with edible roots, and leafy vegetables. The island itself offered protection from other hungry predators, and raw materials such as wood and stone for fashioning tools would have been abundant. “What has amazed us is the degree to which they appear to have deliberately and consistently sought out the same type of ideal location for establishing their major camps,” said Tony Brown of the University of Southampton. 

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