Tools 'may be 250,000 years old'


Archaeologists found the flint tools in Pan last summer

Stone tools found at one of the South's most important early prehistoric sites could date back 250,000 years, archaeologists claim.

The historic finds were uncovered at a former gravel quarry on the Isle of Wight during digs last summer.

Flint axes found near Great Pan Farm, Newport, are thought to be of the sort used by Neanderthal man. Elephant teeth from the same period were also found.

Specialists are now to carry out further investigations of the site.

A spokeswoman for Isle of Wight Council said the tools found at the site opened up "the possibility that this site may well date to 250,000 years ago".

"These fascinating results have led leading specialists from the Boxgrove Project team to commit to future studies of the site.

"The Great Pan Farm site, one of only a handful of such early sites in Britain, now looks set to unlock our knowledge of Neanderthal society and technology," she added.

The digs were launched at the site as it has been earmarked for future housing development.

The last time the area was examined was in the 1920s when other tools were found that also dated back to the Stone Age.