Sunday 31 October 2010

Stone age people painted their homes

Mesolithic people 5,000 years ago brightened up their Stone Age homes by painting the insides, according to new archaeological evidence. They used red, yellow and orange pigments from ground-up minerals and bound it with animal fat and eggs to make their paint.  It is the earliest ever example of man using paint to decorate their properties in Britain, if not in Europe.

Read the full story here:-

Saturday 30 October 2010

Pressure flaking from Africa 75,000 years ago

Pressure flaking originated not in Europe, but in Africa some 75,000 years ago in the Palaelithic period.  That is the finding of new research by a team from University of Colorado.  The technique of pressure-flaking, which scientists previously thought was invented in Europe some 20,000 years ago, involves using an animal bone or some other object to exert pressure near the edge of a stone piece and precisely carve out a small flake.
Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder examined stone tools dating from the Middle Stone Age, some 75,000 years ago, from Blombos Cave in what is now South Africa.

Read the full story on here:-

Friday 22 October 2010

Stone tools prove humans emerged early from Africa

An Oxford research team has reported new findings of stone age tools that suggest humans came "out of Africa" by land earlier than has been thought.

Geneticists estimate that migration from Africa to South-East Asia and Australia took place as recently as 60,000 years ago.
But Dr Michael Petraglia, of Oxford University, and colleagues say stone artefacts found in the Arabian Peninsula and India point to an exodus starting about 70,000 to 80,000 years ago - and perhaps even earlier.
The full story is on the BBC news site here:-

BBC's History of the World in 100 objects

Like many others, I have been fascinated and inspired by the BBC's History of the World in 100 objects, produced in partnership with the British Museum.  Needless to say, I was excited when the very first object turned out to be a beautiful early palaeolithic hand axe.

I was even more delighted when I visited the BBC website devoted to the project and discovered that members of the public were also invited to post their own objects of importance, so I posted up a picture of a particularly nice acheulian hand axe that I found in Medway terrace gravels at Ayelsford in Kent.

You can view the axe on my site, The Stone Age Tools Museum, at  and on the BBC site here:-

New interpretation of Sweden in the Stone Age

The Falbygden area of central Västergötland in southwestern Sweden is home to one of northern Europe's greatest concentrations of megalithic graves from the New Stone Age (approx. 4000-1500 BC). A new archaeology thesis from the University of Gothenburg now shows that these “passage graves” were not designed to be visible across wide areas – instead they seem to be almost hidden within the landscape.

     Tony Axelsson, doctoral student and archaeologist at the Västergötland Museum, has investigated what the Stone Age landscape in Falbygden actually looked like, and how the people of the time related to their surroundings.
     Read the full story here:-

Thursday 21 October 2010

Stone age people ground and ate flour 20,000 years before farming began

Humans in the palaeolithic period ground and ate flour 20,000 years before farming began according to new investigations. Flour residues recovered from 30,000-year-old grinding stones found in Italy, Russia and the Czech Republic point to widespread processing and consumption of plant grain, according to a paper published online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  The full story is here in Archaeology Daily News.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Did Neanderthals make jewellery?

A new study by Oxford University's carbon dating lab has cast doubt on the idea that Neanderthal humans may have made jewellery.  The study suggests that the ornaments discovered in France's Grotte du Rennes may be from many different time periods and not merely from the Neanderthal period, 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.

However, Francesco D'Errico of Bordeaux University still believes the site shows that Neanderthals made decorative jewels. The full story is in the latest The Arachaeology News Network here;

And there is further coverage in the current New Scientist here:-

Wednesday 13 October 2010

North African stone age tools 40,000 years earlier than thought

The "Aterian" stone tool technology and cultural group was originally thought to date to the period from 40,000 to 20,000 years before the present. However, more recent scientific technologies have been used to re-examine the stone tools and have pushed back the time horizon for this technology of stone tool making to a much older range: from 85,000 to 40,000 years of age.
This information come from F. Scott Crawford, editor and publisher of the monthly e-magazine "Arrowhead Collecting On The Web".

The full story is here:-

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Ancient stone from Olduvai

Inspired by the BBC programme "A history of the world in 100 objects"  Martin Budden visited the British Museum. He was particularly interested in seeing two objects from the cradle of humanity, the Olduvai Gorge in northern Tanzania: the Olduvai stone chopping tool (made 1.8 million years ago) and the Olduvai handaxe (made 1.2 – 1.4 million years ago).

Monday 11 October 2010

Stone age tools on show in Massachusetts Sunday 17th October

People in the Massachusetts town of Ashland, between Boston and Worcester, will be able to see stone age tools and weapons at first hand this Sunday, 17th October.  Aspiring Stone Age hunters can learn at the Ashland Historical Society how their ancient predecessors once managed to bring down the likes of mastodons for dinner.
     Guest experts Bob Berg and Jeff Gottlieb will explain, demonstrate and lead hands-on work with the atlatl, a prehistoric spear-launching weapon that predates the bow and arrow.
     They also will teach participants about other primitive arts, such as starting a fire with a hand drill or making rope from hemp, flax or milkweed.
     Read the full sgtory here:-

Thursday 7 October 2010

Neanderthals were compassionate

According to new research at York University, Neanderthals were compassionate people. The team's findings showed that the injured and infirm were routinely cared for in this period. The researchers examined archaeological evidence for clues as to the way in which emotions began to develop in our ancestors.

Analysis of remains showed that a child with a serious brain abnormality was not abandoned, but lived until it was five or six years old.  And a Neanderthal who had a withered arm, deformed feet and was blind in one eye was taken care of for perhaps as long as 20 years.

Read more: