Petralona cave

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Petralona cave
Petralona skull covered by stalagmite.jpg
Petralona skull covered by stalagmite
Location Greece
Coordinates 40°22′11″N 23°09′33″E / 40.369697°N 23.159151°E / 40.369697; 23.159151Coordinates: 40°22′11″N 23°09′33″E / 40.369697°N 23.159151°E / 40.369697; 23.159151
Length 2 kilometres (1 mi)
Discovery 1959
Entrances 1
Access The Petralona Cave and Anthropological Museum

The Petralona cave (Greek: Σπήλαιο Πετραλώνων) is located in Chalkidiki (Greece), 1 km away to the east of the eponymous village, about 35 km S-E of Thessaloniki and on the west side of Mount Katsika. Often designated as the "Petralona skull", Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis, oldest European hominid, was found there. The Anthropological Museum of Petralona on the site displays some of the finds from the cave.

Petralona cave entrance
Petralona cave tourist path
Petralona cave formations


The cave was accidentally discovered in 1959 by Fillipos Chatzaridis, a local shepherd looking for a spring. The Petralona skull, by some estimates about 700,000 years old [Other estimates vary widely. for example says 200,000.], was found there in 1960[1] by Chistos Sarrigiannidis, another local. Further research in the cave has yielded 4 isolated teeth,[2] then two pre-human skeletons dated about 800,000 years,[3] a great number of fossils of various species and what is considered as the oldest traces of fire known to this day.[4]

The fossils have been at the Geology School of the Thessaloniki Aristotle University since 1960.[5]

Fossil fauna[edit]

Fossils from numerous species have been found in the cave:[6]


  • indeterminate species





The skull of Petralona. Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.


Chiroptera (bats)[edit]






Bison schoetensacki



  1. ^ Pre-Sapiens Man in Greece. By Aris Nickos Poulianos, Current Anthropology, vol. 22, n° 3, June 1981, pp. 287-288.
  2. ^ Signals of Evolution in the Territory of Greece. Paleoanthropological Findings. By Christos Valsamis. In Intensive course in biological anthropology of the European Anthropological Association, 16–30 June 2007.
  3. ^ (English) Archaeology in Greece. By H. W. Catling. In Archaeological Reports, n° 28, pp. 3-62. 1981-1982.
  4. ^ Traces of fire at the Petralona Cave, the oldest known up to day, A. N. Poulianos, in Anthropos, 4: 144-146. 1977.
  5. ^ a b New analysis of the Pleistocene carnivores from Petralona cave (Macedonia, Greece) based on the Collection of Thessaloniki Aristotle University. Par Gennady F. Baryshnikov et Evangelia Tsoukala. Dans Geobios vol. 43, issue 4, pp. 389-402. Juillet-aout 2010.
  6. ^ The species of the fossilized fauna from Petralona Cave.

External links[edit]

  • The Petralona Cave and Anthropological Museum, site de l'Association Anthropological of Greece, presided by Aris Nickos Poulianos, then by his son, and which has held the concession for the exploration of the cave since the beginning of the 1960s.