Today Marmara Sea separates Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas from each other. However it does not constitute a permanent border. Due to sea level changes during the Pleistocene, the Marmara Sea became a fresh water lake at least a several times and terrestrial areas around it were expanded, creating a land-bridge between Anatolia and Balkans. This land-bridge is one of the most probable routes for Lower Paleolithic hominins to disperse through Europe.
Yarımburgaz Cave is the only excavated Paleolithic site in this region. Archaeological remains in this cave were dated to approximately 390 ka, a cold period in the middle of the Middle Pleistocene. Assemblage of the Yarımburgaz Cave consists mainly flakes, retouched and non-retouched. Surveys in Eastern Thrace (north of the Marmara Sea) revealed a dense occupation during the Lower Paleolithic, many Lower Paleolithic sites have been discovered in recent years. All of the assemblages of these sites are characterized in the dominance of core tools (choppers and chopping tools) made on quartz and quartzite pebbles. This might indicate earlier industries than the Yarımburgaz assemblage since percentage of core tools at Yarımburgaz are not very high.
In the south of the Marmara Sea, in contrast to the northern part, Lower Paleolithic sites are not numerous and assemblages include low number of bifacial tools along with high percentages of flakes. If it is not the result of different geomorphological histories of two areas, this might be the result of the existence two different techno-cultural groups around Marmara Sea. However, except the technological and typological analyses, it has not been possible to obtain radiometric dates from any of these surface sites at both areas.
Despite the difficulty of dating the assemblages, this region around Marmara Sea where Anatolia and the Balkans come together, offers much to understand technological adaptations of Lower Paleolithic hominins. Here I will present the first results of long-term Paleolithic survey projects in this very important region.