Petralona Cave - Greece

The human skull that challenges the Out of Africa theory

This is the account of the discovery of a skull that has the potential to change what we know about human evolution, and a suppression and cover-up which followed.   

In 1959, in an area called Chalkidiki in Petralona, Northern Greece, a shepherd came across a small opening to a cave, which became visible when a thick covering of snow finally melted.  He gathered a group of villagers to help him clear the entrance so they could go inside and explore.  They found a cave rich in stalactites and stalagmites. But they also found something surprising – a human skull embedded in the wall (later research also uncovered a huge number of fossils including pre-human species, animal hair, fossilized wood, and stone and bone tools).   

Petralona SkullThe skull was given to the University of Thessaloniki in Greece by the President of the Petralona Community. The agreement was that once the research was done, a museum would be opened featuring the findings from the Petralona cave, and the skull would be returned to be displayed in the museum – something that never happened.

Dr Aris Poulianos, member of the UNESCO's IUAES (International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences), later founder of the Anthropological Association of Greece , and an expert anthropologist who was working at the University of Moscow at the time, was invited by the Prime Minister of Greece to return to Greece to take a position of a University Chair in Athens.  This was due to the publication of his book, ‘The Origins of the Greeks’, which provides excellent research showing that Greek people didn’t originate from the Slavic nations but were indigenous to Greece.  Upon his return to Greece, Dr Poulianos was made aware of the discovery of the skull at Petralona, and immediately started studying the Petralona cave and skull.

The ‘Petralona man’, or Archanthropus of Petralona, as it has since been called, was found to be 700,000 years old, making it the oldest human europeoid (presenting European traits) of that age ever discovered in Europe. Dr Poulianos’ research showed that the Petralona man evolved separately in Europe and was not an ancestor of a species that came out of Africa. 

In 1964, independent German researchers, Breitinger and Sickenberg, tried to dismiss Dr Poulianos’ findings, arguing that the skull was only 50,000 years old and was indeed an ancestor that came from Africa.  However, research published in the US in 1971 in the prestigious Archaeology magazine, backed up the findings that the skull was indeed 700,000 years old.  This was based on an analysis of the cave’s stratigraphy and the sediment in which the skull was embedded.  Further research in the cave discovered isolated teeth and two pre-human skeletons dating back 800,000 years, as well as other fossils of various species.

Today, most academics who have analyzed the Petralona remains say that the cranium of the Archanthropus of Petralona belongs to an archaic hominid distinguished from Homo erectus, and from both the classic Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans, but showing characterists of all those species and presenting strong European traits.  A skull dating back 700,000 which is either Homo sapien or part Homo sapien is in direct conflict with the Out of Africa theory of human evolution.  

Petralona Man

Further excavations continued in the cave of Petralona with the participation of international researchers (46 specialists from 12 separate countries), which provided further proof of Dr Poulianos’ claims, including remarkable findings like fossilized pieces of wood, an oak leaf, animal hair and coprolites, which enabled accurate dating, as well as the almost continuous presence of stone and bone tools of the Archanthropus evolutionary stage, from the lower (750,000 years) to the upper (550,000 years) layers of sediment within the cave.

The research, after an interruption due to the dictatorship in Greece, continued up to 1983. It was then ordered by the government that all excavations at the site were forbidden to anyone, including the original archaeological team, and for 15 years nobody had access to the site or to the findings – no reason was provided by the government.  Was this denial of access to prevent the extraction of whatever new scientific conclusions remained hidden within the incredible fossils embedded within the layers of the caves’ walls? 

After the Anthropological Society of Greece took the case to the courts, 15 years later they were again allowed access to the cave.  Since then the Ministry of Culture is trying in any way to overcome the Courts decision and further trials proceed.

Aris PoulianosDr Poulianos’ findings contradicted conventional views regarding human evolution and his research was suppressed.  Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured in their home in 2012 and the culprits were never been found. He and his team have been denied further access to the cave to complete their research and study, and the whereabouts of the skull is now unknown.  

Today a sign sits outside the cave of Petralona stating that the skull found in the cave was 300,000 years old, and on Wikipedia today you will see references dismissing the evidence and trying to date the Petralona skull within acceptable parameters – between 160,000 and 240,000 years old.  

Recently, Professor C.G. Nicholas Mascie-Taylor of the University of Cambridge sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture in Greece saying that the correct date of the skull is 700,000 years old and not 300,000. He has also challenged the government’s suppression of information regarding this incredible discovery. 

The Greek Ministry of Education, Religions, Culture and Sports,

Bouboulinas 20-22,

Athens 106 82,


5 September 2012

Dear Sir,

I am writing on behalf of the European Anthropological Association, which is the umbrella professional and academic association linking all of the national European biological anthropology and human biology societies, to express our concerns about the conservation of the Petralona Cave and Skull, the misinformation of the dating of the skull, as well as the treatment of personnel associated with the conservation of the Cave.

The bases of our concerns are that the skull has been damaged through many scratches and the crown of a tooth (1st molar) cut off. As requested by Anthropological Association of Greece what is required is a detailed description of the present status of the skull, so that no one in future can arbitrarily damage it further. There is also the problem of dating which has been scientifically dated at about 700,000 years ago not 300,000 as is given at the information desk. There is a very detailed record of the excavations and findings which need to receive further public presentation but which have never been catalogued so as to prevent specimens going missing.

It is very unfortunate that the Greek Archaeological Department stopped Dr Aris Poulianos from further work in the Cave without any explanation. It is also very worrying that Dr Poulianos and his wife were physically attacked and injured in their home earlier this year and the culprits have not been found. He was also verbally abused when attempting to give an invited presentation to teachers and school children.

Senior anthropologists and geologists have also been denied access to the Cave and the specimens for further study on a number of occasions without substantive reasons. Earlier this year there has also been misinformation given to the Greek Parliament concerning financial aspects of the Cave.

I look forward to receiving answers to these questions.

Yours faithfully

Professor C G N Mascie-Taylor MA, PhD, ScD (all Cambridge), FSB, FNAS (Hungary)

Professor of Human Population Biology and Health and President of the European Anthropological Association


The most important conclusion of Dr Poulianos' research regards the co-existence of all main anthropological types (African – Kobi, Asian – Beijing and European – Petralona) at the same almost period (700,000, 500,000 and 750,000 respectively). That means: the appearance of the today human main populations (races or even better phyllae - from the Greek language and that’s why polyphyletic etc) is tending to almost 1,000,000 m.y.a. and not to only 10,000 or 30,000 years as currently considered world wide.

However, independently if there is a scientific dispute on the above, it is only sad to become aware that research is not allowed to those who are not coordinated to the “standard” knowledge, risking even their lives in front of gun shooters. 

Is this a cover up of an incredible discovery that the powers-that-be do not want us to have access to?  You be the judge.

By John Black

Related Links

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Actually, you are in fact wrong which is only normal since you assume a common fallacy that the climate of Europe, or Greece for that matter, was the same as it was today.

In reality, the climate of Greece back then was alien to now... It was harshly super-cold and ruthless and Africa was the promise land of fruits, milk and honey where humans could evolve, not an arid hot savanna as today. Climate changed VERY much from then.

Heck, Poulianos was actually never been exposed to scientific method and all he does is downplaying FACT with idiotically and illogically ridiculous PSEUDOSCIENCE he farted from top of his head while using a very very undoubtfully incorrect and factually flawed method.

As for the gentleman here who is gigantically omni-retarded to confuse that the other highly intelligent gentleman is making "allegations" I actually remind him that negative claims CAN'T be assumed or be allegations in any shape or form and that he needs to realize that throwing words from a thesaurus or a dictionary is not enough... Unfortunently, nothing he claimed makes any sense whatsoever.

Actually, the man in fact ADMITTED the fact that Poulianos is in fact a delusional pathetic pseudoscientist who is too dumb to differ between evidence and myths. Poulianos was "educated" by the early 20th century Modern Greek system... therefore he was predetermined to be an utterly delusional pseudoscientist.

Even my mother's books from 80's are filled with flaws and deluded blithering pseudoscience... Greece didn't follow the Western method of education and went pissing on her legos and messing with them until recently like it was their own world.

I know cuz I am Greek.

The question of why is answered very adequately here already.

It is highly likely whenever an attack is launched personally against a researcher and the AUTOMATIC term  “kneejerk”“conspiracy” or “conspiracy theory” is used, it is usually a Shill doing it.

Anything to deflect the actual question of “WHY?”  To avoid the unpleasant dangerous facts.


The secret to all knowledge is only found in anomalies...... (Kyneth circa 1978)

Like so many things in science today, politics trumps facts.

We did not descend from Africans and I have seen nothing , ever, to change my mind.

How about saying you don't believe we descended from 'Africans' (whatever you may mean by that term), rather than stating it as if it's a fact, and one which you cannot prove?

I totally agree Brad, it just shows the outright prejudice of bigoted people, who through an indoctrinated, cultural upbringing, hold fast to predetermined positions on scientific and archaeological discoveries. Mixed into their views are the racial and religious dogma that has been espoused for the past 1700 years by the controlling and predominant elite establishment of western civilization, the Roman Catholic Church, who have held the unofficial position of our cultures moral judges. They hold also the unofficial position as our 'thought police' through the censorship, suppression and control of all information that may become accepted into mainstream society. Just as Copernicus, Galillaeo and Darwin struggled to have their discoveries accepted as being based on observed truths, they were subjected to the most vile slander and public ridicule just for having discovered some pertinent facts that were contrary to the views that the controllers of western christian society wanted us to have. Let me state now, in clear concise words so that any other persons who may wish to input their dogmatic and inflexible viewpoints into any other scientific based research discussions will fully understand. The role of all science based research (which includes all the fields such as archaeology, anthropology, astronomy, genetic, etc) is to not hold any preconceived or established viewpoints, the facts that are discovered are exactly as they are; facts or truthful and undeniable hard evidence. From these newly discovered facts conclusions and theories can be drawn which then need to be tested to establish whether they have any basis of truth according to the evidence that is on hand. At no stage can it be said that a complete picture has been drawn until all the evidence and research has been tested and even then new discoveries may alter the picture being drawn. The key thing is to have a completely open mind and to accept that we dont know everything already and that every new piece of information may completely change our concept of what is the truth. The truth is established when hard evidence and fully tested and proved theories combine to provide real knowledge of what has happened or is happening. The answer to the statement "we are not descended from Africans' can be found in the research being done on our DNA, the human genome along with the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes provide vital hard evidence and factual information of where we originated from. Of course there may be out there more fossil evidence that may point to other unknown species that could have existed and evolved completely outside of Africa, but according to the genetic evidence, backed by the fossil record it appears that the original hominids that were our ancestors evolved originally in Africa. Unless it is discovered in other continents that other primates also evolved separately to our African primate cousins and that their DNA exists in other unknown hominid species, then the undeniable facts according to our DNA is that we came from Africa, we are related by our DNA to African chimpanzees and even earlier to African gorillas, as are our cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans, we can all trace our lineage through our DNA back to Homo Erectus and also back to Chimpanzees and earlier primates who all have been found only in Africa. (Erectus did migrate out of Africa and settled in Europe and Asia, whereby they evolved to become the Neanderthal and Denisovan species, but the earliest fossils are found in Africa and our DNA is linked to much earlier primates such as chimpanzees, which still being alive today, we can readily compare our DNA too.) Of course if Erectus fossils can be found outside Africa that are older than what we already have, then the story may change, but as of now the evidence points to an African cradle for all Hominid species originally.


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