Wood is a perishable material. It rots relatively quickly and traces of treatment disappear before they are detected. Hence evidence of early use of raw materials is scarce. Very special conditions are required to preserve wooden artifacts from the Stone Age – either very dry or very wet.
This is also thanks to the wetness surrounding the team Lawrence Barham Scientists from the University of Liverpool have now discovered a wooden structure nearly half a million years old, the oldest yet found, as reported in a paper just published in the specialized journal Nature. Stady he is called.
Related to intention
The wooden remains come from a Stone Age archaeological site near Kalambo Falls in Zambia, which was discovered in the 1950s and 1960s. Even then, old wooden parts were found, but there was no trace of processing. Continuous washing may have caused them to disappear. This makes the current discovery by Parham and his colleagues even more surprising.
Probably the oldest wooden structure, it consists of two blocks joined together, which appear to have been connected intentionally. This is also shown by the corresponding cracks. The authors write that it is unlikely that the two blocks are connected by chance. For example, the structure could serve as part of a platform or walkway or as the base of a dwelling in a wet flood plain.
The team also discovered wooden artifacts from another phase of settlement. These newer objects have been dated to between 320,000 and 390,000 years ago, and include, among other things, a wedge and a digging stick.
More stable than expected
In any case, all finds point to those who were already living in Africa at that time Hominine They have changed their environment in fundamental ways and shaped it to their own advantage Anime milk From the University of Reading in an accompanying commentary.
The remains also challenge the common belief that human ancestors lived as nomads in the Stone Age, Barham explains in a press release about the study. At Kalambo Falls, not only was water available throughout the year, but the surrounding forest also provided enough food. So humans were able to settle and build artificial structures.
This discovery radically changed his view of our ancestors, says Barham: “They made something completely new and large out of wood. They changed their surroundings to make their lives easier – even if it was just a platform to sit on by the river and do daily tasks. “These people were more like us than we think.”
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