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Petralona Cave, Halkidiki Region

(170+ reviews on the web)
Cave Nature / Park
The Petralona cave also Cave of the Red Stones, a Karst formation - is located at 300m above sea-level on the western foot of Mount Katsika, 1km east of the eponymous village, about 35km south-east of Thessaloniki city on the Chalkidiki peninsula, Greece. The site came to public attention when in 1960 a fossilized hominid skull was found. The cave had been discovered accidentally only a year earlier (1959) after erosion had left clefts in the rock. "Bejeweled" with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations and holding an abundance of fossils the cave soon attracted geologists and paleontologists. After decades of excavations the cave is open to the public and scientific work is documented and presented in an adjacent Archaeological Museum.The cave's most prominent fossil specimen, since known among paleoanthropologists as the "Petralona Skull", named Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis by Aris Poulianos, former head of the Anthropological Association of Greece. He considers it the oldest European hominid ever found and assessed it to be 800.000 years old. Yet "there was the constant problem that the skull was an isolated find" as other scientists strongly disagree and the find has been a continuing cause of controversy since. The Anthropological Association's conclusions and results are in direct conflict with accepted speciation models of the genus Homo and the chronology of the Out of Africa theory.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The cave itself seems interesting, but we were disappointed from the visit, because of the lack of information/guided tour. 8 euro entrance fee for 10 minute quick walk in a complete silence and disin...  more »
  • You can only visit the caves with a guide, but he/she doesn't really give much of an explanation. They only repeat what is written on the plaquettes outside. Too bad. The adjoining museum is boring: a...  more »
  • Great cave to visit, especially if you travel to Halkidiki or you are staying around that area. It is known to be the cave that the oldest man seciment was found. Thanks to Aris Poulianos researches. ...  more »