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.

More here:

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.

Read the full story here:-

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.

Read Koster's full story here:-

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.”

Full story here:-