Stone Age tools uncovered in Yemen point to humans leaving Africa and inhabiting Arabia perhaps as far back as 63,000 years ago, according to Anne Delagnes of Université Bordeaux. The archaeologists have been studying the site of Shi'bat Dihya located in a wadi, or gully, that connects Yemen's highlands to the coastal plains of the Red Sea.
The age of the site puts it at a time when early modern
humans were thought to be first emigrating from Eastern Africa to the rest of
the world. "The Arabian Peninsula is routinely considered as the corridor where
migrating East African populations would have passed during a single or multiple
dispersal events," says the study. "It has also been suggested that the groups
who colonized South Asia rapidly expanded from South and East Africa along the
Arabian coastlines around 60 ka BP (60,000 years ago), bringing with them a
modern behavioural package including microlithic (stone) backed tools,
ostrich-eggshell beads or engraved fragments. However, this scenario is not
supported by any hard archaeological evidence from the Arabian Peninsula. Up
until recently, the absence of stratified contexts (archaeological sites) from
the entirety of the region has rendered issues concerning the timing and
trajectories of the earliest expansions of modern humans into the region largely
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Tuesday 10 July 2012
Innovative research by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Bradford used laser microscopes to explore how stone tools were used in prehistory, and the process has helped streamline surface measurement techniques for modern manufacturers.Archaeologists at the University of Bradford hypothesised that reconstructing past activities was the best way to study what each tool was used for. They proposed to measure the surface structures of replica stone tools before and after they were used in different reconstructions on two natural materials - antler and wood.
NPL conducted surface measurement investigations on the replica tools using a confocal microscope to create a map of surface structure. Richard Leach, who led the work at NPL, said: "We measured the surfaces of each tool using a confocal microscope to create a map of its surface structure. Optical measurements create 3D constructions of each surface recorded without physically contacting the surface."
Read the full story here: http://phys.org/news/2012-07-stone-age-tools-modern.html
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