A major discovery reveals that humans built wooden structures much earlier than previously thought, because they were capable of doing this type of work a long time ago. almost half a million yearsAccording to new research from a team from the University of Liverpool and Aberystwyth University, both in the United Kingdom.
Research published in the journal NatureDescribes the features of a well-preserved wooden structure at the Kalambo Falls archaeological site in Zambia. Its history dates back at least 476,000 years, predating the evolution of our own species.HE homo sapiens.
Analyzes show that these first humans They shaped and joined two large trunks to form a structurepossibly the foundation of a platform or part of a house.
One of the two stems is located below the other and is connected to the second through a notch.
This is the oldest evidence ever made anywhere in the world About deliberate preparation of logs to be joined. Until now, evidence of human use of wood has been limited to fire-making tools, digging sticks and spears.
Wood is rarely found in such ancient areas as it usually rots away, but at Kalambo Falls Permanently accumulated high water levels managed to preserve the wood.
This discovery also challenges the current view that Stone Age people were nomads. At Kalambo Falls, these people not only had a permanent source of water, but the surrounding forest also provided them with enough food to allow them to settle and build structures.
Professor Larry Barham, from the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, said: “This finding changed the way I think about our early ancestors. Forget the ‘Stone Age’ tag, look what these people are up to: They made something new and great with wood. “They used their intelligence, imagination and skill to create something they had never seen before, something that had never existed before.”
“They transformed their environment to make life easier, even if only by creating a platform from which they could sit by the river and carry out their daily tasks. These people They were more like us than we thought“added.
Expert dating of the finds was carried out by experts from Aberystwyth University. They just used it to do this Luminescence dating techniquesIt reveals when the minerals in the sand surrounding the finds were last exposed to sunlight to determine their age.
Professor Geoff Duller from Aberystwyth University said that given the high age of the remains, “dating the finds was a huge challenge and we used luminescence dating to do this.” These new dating methods have far-reaching implications: they allow us to go much further back in time and reconstruct sites that provide insight into human evolution. “The site at Kalambo Falls was excavated in the 1960s with the discovery of similar wood fragments, but they were unable to date them, so the true significance of the site was unclear until now.”
The Kalambo Falls site is located on a 235-meter waterfall on the edge of Lake Tanganyika, on Zambia’s border with Tanzania’s Rukwa region. The region is on the “tentative” list to be included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. because of its archaeological importance.
“Our research shows that this site is much older than previously thought, so its archaeological significance is now even greater. “This adds further weight to the argument that this should be a United Nations World Heritage Site,” Duller added.
This research is part of the pioneering ‘Deep Roots of Humanity’ project, which investigates how human technology developed in the Stone Age. The project is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council and involves teams from the Zambia National Heritage Conservation Commission, Livingstone Museum, Moto Moto Museum and Lusaka National Museum.
Reference work: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06557-9
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