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by Archaeology Newsroom

An elephant tusk from Mikri Volvi

In the area of Mikri Volvi, around the present refugee village by the lake, there is sufficient evidence of the importance this eastern part of the Byzantine Empire held for the emperor Justinian, as is also documented in the writings of Procopios. Basilicas, cisterns, breakwaters, fortresses exist as proof, while there is more evidence from later periods in time.

New data, however, came from a very remote era to testify to the “liveliness” of the area; an elephant tusk. The elephant was not unknown in this region, since a very important and relevant find the “Protoelephant”, was discovered by the anthropologist Aris Poulianos and his son Nikos in the Ptolemais basin in October of 1977. the Ptolemais find, dismembered by a group of primitive hunters, was dated by Poulianoi to about 2.5 million years ago. Moreover, the name ”Kokala” (= huge bone) of an area to the NW of Mikri Volvi, as well as the name “Kokalou” of another site east of ancient Apollonia, is etymologically related to the enormous bones of a certain elephant species, which is usually characterized as “Archidiskodon meridionalis”, or perhaps related to the bones of rhinoceros and other huge animals, The find from the area of Mikri Volvi, if studied by an expert paleontologist, might produce very interesting results.