Friday 16 December 2011

Archaeological report on palaeolithic vessel found on Mount Ararat

Harvard University educated archaeologist and director of the Paleontological Research Corporation, Dr. Joel Klenck, surveyed the site of an ancient vessel found on Mount Ararat in Turkey, analyzed the archaeological remains and completed a comparative study. “The site is remarkable”, states Klenck, “and comprises a large all-wood structure with an archaeological assemblage that appears to be mostly from the Late Epipaleolithic Period.” These assemblages at other sites in the Near East have calibrated radiocarbon dates between 13,100 and 9,600 B.C. Located at elevations above 4,200 meters on Mount Ararat and covered by layers of ice and stones, he states: “The site is wonderfully preserved, exhibits a wide array of plant materials including structures made of cypress and one room with a floor covered by chickpea seeds.” Klenck additionally notes, “I was most impressed by the artifactual assemblage, particularly the basalt bowls, stone cores and debitage.”

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Tuesday 13 December 2011

Mining operations threaten Zimbabwe's stone age archaeology

These mining operations are a threat not only to Zimbabwe’s wildlife but also to its cultural and archeological resources. This mine between Sinamatella and Bumbusi camp is within a few kilometers of the Bumbusi Ruins, which is a national monument.  In addition to the stone ruins, where Late Stone Age tools have been found, there are unusual sandstone engravings. In recent years National Museums and Monuments have undertaken an excavation in the area and it is believed there are many more archeological finds to be made – unless they are destroyed during bush clearing and mining.

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Sunday 11 December 2011

Neolithic site discovered in Staffordshire

Experts believe they have found evidence of a 4,000-year-old Stone Age camp in the Midlands - thanks to a dog walker. Roger Hall discovered a handful of strange-shaped rocks while walking his dog in Cannock Wood, Staffordshire (England), but experts have identified them as flint 'flakes' - the off-cuts from tools crafted by Stone Age Man.

"If confirmed, they could mark the spot of the only Neolithic camp known in our region," says Roger Knowles, a member of the Council for British Archaeology. He is convinced that buried beneath the grassland is a link between the period when mankind changed from nomadic hunter-gatherer to village dweller.

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Thursday 1 December 2011

Implements found in Arabian desert change ideas on "Out of Africa"

Newly discovered stone artifacts in the Arabian desert suggest humans left Africa traveling inland, not along the coasts, as long thought according to reports. 

Modern humans first arose about 200,000 years ago in Africa. When and how our lineage then dispersed has long proven controversial, but geneticists have suggested this exodus started between 40,000 and 70,000 years ago. The currently accepted theory is that the exodus from Africa traced Arabia's shores, rather than passing through its now-arid interior.

However, stone artifacts at least 100,000 years old from the Arabian Desert, revealed in January 2011, hinted that modern humans might have begun our march across the globe earlier than once suspected.

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Thursday 10 November 2011

Treasure trove of Palaeolithic tools unearthed in India

A team of scientists largely from the Anthropological Survey of India has unearthed a trove of Stone Age tools from caves  that offer evidence of human habitation in the region some 50,000 years ago.

The quality of the findings, according to the scientists, suggests that these caves could be as important as the rock paintings in the caves of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh—a UNESCO Heritage site dating back to 30,000 years ago, the earliest and most visceral evidence of habitation by human and human-ancestors in India so far.

The tools, described in a paper in the latest issue of the Current Science journal, are an assortment of axes, cleavers, picks and choppers similar to implements found in other parts of Asia and Europe during the so-called Palaeolithic period (spanning nearly 2.5 million to 10,000 years before today).

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Saturday 15 October 2011

Thousands of stone age tools found in China

Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of stone implements dating back about 40,000 to 70,000 years in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Archaeologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Erdos Bronzeware Museum started excavating an area in the basin of the Ulan Mulun River in April, discovering more than 4,200 stone implements, including stone flakes, saw-shaped tools and remnant stones, according to Hou Yamei, the leader of the excavation team.

The river is a seasonal river near the city of Erdos and is believed to have been a primary location for stone tool production in ancient times, Hou said.

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Saturday 3 September 2011

Oldest hand axes found in Kenya

Acheulian flint hand axes unearthed at Kenya’s Kokiselei site date to 1.76 million years ago, slightly older than previous finds, say geologist Christopher Lepre of Rutgers University and his colleagues. Carefully shaped, double-edged hand axes and picks lay among much simpler tools — sharp flakes pounded off stones — at Kokiselei, the scientists report in the Sept. 1 Nature.

These finds underscore suspicions that stone flakes used as chopping devices, early tools known as the Oldowan industry, did not get supplanted by hand-ax making, Lepre says. Instead, the more complex Acheulian devices emerged while Oldowan implements — which first appeared about 2.6 million years ago in the same region — were still popular, although it’s unclear how long the two types of tools were used simultaneously at Kokiselei. Hand axes and other double-edged tools typify the Acheulian industry.

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Friday 26 August 2011

Interbreeding with Neanderthals boosted modern human immune system

A new study, published in Science, says that humans interbreeding with Neanderthals could have boosted the modern human immune system.

Modern humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans all share a common ancestor in Africa. These populations split up about 400,000 years ago in distinct groups. One went northwest, giving rise to the Neanderthal lineage, another one went northeast, forming the root of the Denisovan lineage, and the third one stayed in Africa. For a while, at least. Several hundreds of thousands of years later, the African population expanded into Eurasia, meeting their evolutionary cousins.

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Friday 12 August 2011

Stone Age people were tunnellers claims German scientist

Stone Age man created a massive network of underground tunnels criss-crossing Europe from Scotland to Turkey, a new book on the ancient superhighways has claimed. German archaeologist Dr Heinrich Kusch said evidence of the tunnels has been found under hundreds of Neolithic settlements all over the continent.

In his book - Secrets Of The Underground Door To An Ancient World - he claims the fact that so many have survived after 12,000 years shows that the original tunnel network must have been enormous.

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Sunday 19 June 2011

Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? 11,000 years old?

German archaeologist, Klaus Schmidt, has excavated a massive prehistoric structure in Turkey that may be 11,000 years old and could be the world's first temple, according to The Smithsonian Magazine.

Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has excavated massive carved stones crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it's the site of the world's oldest temple.

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Friday 17 June 2011

Toolmaking humans may have evolved earlier than thought

According to an article in Scientific American , Reid Ferring, an anthropologist at the University of North Texas in Denton, and his colleagues excavating the Dmanisi site in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia, found stone artifacts--mostly flakes that were dropped as hominins knapped rocks to create tools for butchering animals--lying in sediments almost 1.85 million years old. Until now, anthropologists have thought that H. erectus evolved between 1.78 million and 1.65 million years ago--after the Dmanisi tools would have been made.

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Saturday 7 May 2011

Archaeologists have found what they say is the earliest evidence of Neanderthals living in Britain. Two pieces of flint unearthed at motorway works in Dartford, Kent, have now been dated to 110,000 years ago.
     The finds push back the presence of Neanderthals in Britain by 40,000 years or more, said Dr Francis Wenban-Smith, from Southampton University.
     A majority of researchers believe Britain was uninhabited by humans at the time the flint tools were made.
An absence of archaeological evidence suggests people abandoned this land between 200,000 years ago (or 160,000 years ago, depending on who you ask) and 65,000 years ago.

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Tuesday 12 April 2011

Humans made tools 3.4 million years ago says Nature

Researchers have found evidence that hominins - early human ancestors - used stone tools to cleave meat from animal bones more than 3.2 million years ago. That pushes back the earliest known tool use and meat-eating in such hominins by more than 800,000 years.
     Bones found in Ethiopia show cuts from stone and indications that the bones were forcibly broken to remove marrow.  The research, in the journal Nature, challenges several notions about our ancestors' behaviour.
     Previously the oldest-known use of stone tools came from the nearby Gona region of Ethiopia, dating back to about 2.5 million years ago. That suggests that it was our more direct ancestors, members of our own genus Homo, that were the first to use tools.
     But the marked bones were found in the Dikika region, with their age determined by dating the nearby volcanic rock - to between 3.2 million and 3.4 million years ago.
     Tests showed that the cuts, scrapes and scratches were made before the bones fossilised, and detailed analysis even showed that there were bits of stone lodged in one of the cuts.
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Wednesday 30 March 2011

Stone age tools from India are up to 1.5 million years old

Archaeologists have discovered India`s oldest stone-age tools, up to 1.5 million years old, at a pre-historic site near Chennai, southern India, the Kolkata-based daily The Telegraph reported on Friday.

     The discovery may change existing ideas about the earliest arrival of human ancestors from Africa into India, the report said.
     A team of Indian and French archaeologists has used two dating methods to show that the stone hand-axes and cleavers from Attirampakkam are at least 1.07 million years old, and could date as far back as 1.5 million years, said the report.
     In nearly 12 years of excavation, archaeologists Shanti Pappu and Kumar Akhilesh from the Sharma Center for Heritage Education, Chennai, have found 3,528 artifacts that are similar to the prehistoric tools discovered in western Asia and Africa, it added.

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Sunday 13 March 2011

World's oldest calendar?

The world's first calendar may be an eagle bone with rows of 14 or 15 notches made 30,000 years ago and found at Le Placard on the Dordogne River near Le Eyzies, France. The bone contains 69 mysterious marks and notches, including circles, crescents, arc and ear-shapes, that appear to be in synch with the phases of the moon. Fourteen and 15 days are roughly the interval between a new moon and a full moon. Some have suggested it may have helped women keep track of the menstrual cycle. Others say it may have been tabulating device Skeptic say it may just be a bone with a lot of scratches on it.

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Friday 11 March 2011

The First Farmers: Older Than You Think

A fascinating and informative article by by John Koster relates several interesting episodes from the early study and discovery of Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeology.  Specially interesting is his mention of the discovery of Catal Hüyük in what is now Turkey, flourishing around 7,500 B.C. before farming became well extablished in the Fertile Crescent.

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Saturday 5 March 2011

Early stone tools in California

A new study in the Journal Science reports that scores of stemmed projectile points and crescents found on California’s Channel Islands suggest that people who depended on a sea economy arrived in the Americas very early, possibly by a coastal route.
     The artifacts, likely made by inhabitants between 12,200 to 11,400 years ago, are associated with the remains of shellfish, seals, geese, cormorants, and fish.  The study team also found thousands of artifacts made from chert, a flint-like rock used to make projectile points and other stone tools.
     Some of the intact projectiles are so delicate that their only practical use would have been for hunting on the water, says Jon Erlandson, professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon. He has been conducting research on the islands for more than 30 years.
     “This is among the earliest evidence of seafaring and maritime adaptations in the Americas, and another extension of the diversity of Paleoindian economies,” Erlandson says. “The points we are finding are extraordinary, the workmanship amazing. They are ultra thin, serrated, and have incredible barbs on them. It’s a very sophisticated chipped-stone technology.”

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