Stone Age People: New Findings & Theories

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#32
Archaeologists in Denmark have uncovered an incredibly rare find: a stone age axe held within its wooden handle. The 5,500-year-old Neolithic axe was found during archaeological surveys ahead of a multi-billion euro tunnel project.

The axe seems to have been jammed into what was once the seabed, perhaps as part of a ritual offering. The lack of oxygen in the clay ground helped preserve the wooden handle. The find was made in Rodbyhavn on the Danish island of Lolland, which is to be connected to the German island of Fehmarn via the tunnel link.

"Finding a hafted [handle-bearing] axe as well preserved as this one is quite amazing," said Soren Anker Sorensen, an archaeologist at the Museum Lolland-Falster in Denmark.

Archaeologists have found other similarly well preserved organic material in the area during their excavations. These include upright wooden stakes, a paddle, bows and other axe shafts. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30197084
 
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#33
Whoever the assailants were, they probably arrived at dawn. Catching their victims unawares, they hacked the shinbones of as many villagers as possible to prevent them escaping, then bludgeoned them all to death with blows to the head before dumping them in a mass grave.

Though no one can be sure exactly what happened to the 26 people whose bodies were found in a Stone-Age mass grave, this is the most likely scenario, according to Christian Meyer of the University of Mainz in Germany. His team has analysed the bones, unearthed at Schöneck-Kilianstädten, near Frankfurt, in 2006.

He dates them to between 5207 and 4849 BC, the early Neolithic period by which time farmers had spread through most of mainland Europe from the south-east, forming a culture known as the Linearbandkeramik, or LBK.

The find is the third known massacre site from this period, and suggests that despite the popular image of peaceful harmony among Europe’s pastoral inhabitants, friction between communities was building up, perhaps because of crop failures, overcrowding or pressure for land.

https://www.newscientist.com/articl...-age-bones-expose-worlds-oldest-mass-torture/
 
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#34
Archaeologists have found the 5,500 year old bones of a Stone Age child and adult in a cave situated on Knocknarea mountain not far from the town of Sligo.

Researchers at IT Sligo discovered 13 small bones and bone fragments in the cave last November. The find provides new evidence of Knocknarea’s Neolithic links and the prehistoric practice known as “excoriation,” according to the Irish Mirror.

Three of the bones belonged to the child, aged 4 to 6 years, and ten belonged to an adult of unknown gender, aged 30 to 39 years. The discovery included foot bones and fragments of a skull.

“It’s an enormously exciting discovery,” said Dr Marion Dowd of IT Sligo, Ireland’s only specialist in the archaeology of Irish caves. “This might seem like a small quantity but it has yielded fantastic results." ...

http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/h...nt - Sept 7&utm_term=The Best of IrishCentral
 
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#35
Going on the palaeo diet? Don’t put down your porridge just yet. Hunter-gatherers ate oats as far back as 32,000 years ago – way before farming took root.

This is the earliest known human consumption of oats, say Marta Mariotti Lippi at the University of Florence in Italy and her colleagues, who made the discovery after analysing starch grains on an ancient stone grinding tool from southern Italy.

The Palaeolithic people ground up the wild oats to form flour, which they may have boiled or baked into a simple flatbread, says Mariotti Lippi.

They also seem to have heated the grains before grinding them, perhaps to dry them out in the colder climate of the time. Mariotti Lippi notes that this would also have made the grain easier to grind and longer-lasting.

This multi-stage process would have been time consuming, but beneficial. The grain is nutritionally valuable, and turning it into flour would have been a good way to transport it, which was important for Palaeolithic nomads, she says.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28139-stone-age-people-were-making-porridge-32000-years-ago
 
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#36
Mystery invaders conquered Europe at the end of last ice age

Europe went through a major population upheaval about 14,500 years ago, at the end of the last ice age, according to DNA from the bones of hunter-gatherers.

Ancient DNA studies published in the last five years have transformed what we know about the early peopling of Europe. The picture they paint is one in which successive waves of immigration wash over the continent, bringing in new people, new genes and new technologies.

These studies helped confirm that Europe’s early hunter-gatherers – who arrived about 40,000 years ago – were largely replaced by farmers arriving from the Middle East about 8000 years ago. These farmers then saw an influx of pastoralists from the Eurasian steppe about 4500 years ago, meaning modern Europe was shaped by three major population turnover events.

Waves of immigration
The latest study suggests things were even more complicated. About 14,500 years ago, when Europe wasemerging from the last ice age, the hunter-gatherers who had endured the chilly conditions were largely replaced by a different population of hunter-gatherers.

Exactly where this new population came from is still unclear, but it seems likely that they came from warmer areas further south. “The main hypothesis would be glacial refugia in south-eastern Europe,” says Johannes Krause at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who led the analysis.

As conditions improved, it was these southern hunter-gatherers who took advantage and migrated into central and northern Europe, he says – meaning there was a genetic discontinuity with the hunter-gatherer populations that had lived there earlier. ...

https://www.newscientist.com/articl...-conquered-europe-at-the-end-of-last-ice-age/
 

Xanatic*

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#37
The skull in that article's photo looks surprisingly massive.
 
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#41
I guess this one might also have fitted in Flooded Kingdoms.

Underwater Stone Age settlement mapped out
Date:
November 14, 2016
Source:
Lund University
Summary:
Six years ago divers discovered the oldest known stationary fish traps in northern Europe off the coast of southern Sweden. Since then, researchers have uncovered an exceptionally well-preserved Stone Age site. They now believe the location was a lagoon environment where Mesolithic humans lived during parts of the year.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161114082236.htm
 
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#42
Scared of the dentist? Be glad you don’t live in the Ice Age. A pair of 13,000-year-old front teeth found in Italy contain the earliest known use of fillings – made out of bitumen.

The teeth, two upper central incisors belonging to one person, were discovered at the Riparo Fredian site near Lucca in northern Italy.

Each tooth has a large hole in the incisor’s surface that extends down into the pulp chamber deep in the tooth. “It is quite unusual, not something you see in normal teeth,” says Stephano Benazzi, an archaeologist at the University of Bologna.

Benazzi and his team used a variety of microscopic techniques to get a close look at the inside of the holes, and found a series of tiny horizontal marks on the walls that suggest they were cavities that had been drilled out and enlarged, likely by tiny stone tools.

The markings were similar to those Benazzi and his colleagues found in teeth from another site in Italy, dated to 14,000 year ago, that they determined were the first known example of dentistry in humans.

But these new teeth also have a new dental innovation. The holes contain traces of bitumen, with plant fibres and hairs embedded in it, which Benazzi thinks are evidence of prehistoric fillings.

While the purpose of the plants and hairs is unknown, it appears that they were added to the cavity at the same time as the drilling, so are not simply the remains of food eaten later.

The Paleolithic dentist would have drilled out the cavities and filled the holes with bitumen to reduce pain and to keep food out of the pulp chamber, just like in modern dentistry, says Benazzi. ...

https://www.newscientist.com/articl...ling-was-made-by-an-ice-age-dentist-in-italy/
 
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#46
Late Stone Age people got a grip thanks to honeybees.

Northern Europeans attached a barbed bone point to a handle of some kind with a beeswax adhesive around 13,000 years ago, scientists say. The result: a fishing spear.

Using beeswax glue to make tools was common in Africa as early as 40,000 years ago (SN: 8/25/12, p. 16). But this spear is the first evidence of it use in cold parts of Europe at a time toward the end of the Stone Age when the glaciers were receding, say archaeologist Michael Baales of LWL-Archӓologie für Westfalen in Olpe, Germany, and his colleagues.

Where the beeswax came from remains a question. Honeybees may have pushed north into Europe from warmer, Mediterranean locales several thousand years earlier than previously thought, the researchers propose in the October Antiquity. Farmers in Southwest Asia and Europe acquired beeswax and probably honey as early as 9,000 years ago (SN: 12/12/15, p. 13). ...

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/europes-stone-age-fishers-used-beeswax-make-point
 

Kingsize Wombat

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#47
Stone Tool Discovery in India Raises Questions About Spread of Ancient Technology

Humans have been making stone tools for some 2.6 million years, but roughly 400,000 years ago, our ancestors’ technique improved drastically. In place of the clunky implements of their predecessors, they began making smaller, sharper tools using a style of flint knapping known as Levallois. The emergence of Levallois technology is associated with what is known as the Middle Stone Age in Africa and the Middle Paleolithic era in Europe and western Asia.


Researchers have suggested that the Levallois technique spread to diverse geographic regions around 125,000 years ago, when humans began dispersing from Africa. But as Rhitu Chatterjee reports for NPR, a new study documents Levallois tools found in India that date to as early as 385,000 years ago, raising complex questions about the history of this ancient technology.

Archaeologists at the Sharma Center for Heritage Education analyzed a trove of stone tools from Attirampakkam, an archaeological site in southern India. The oldest artifacts found at the site are 1.5 million years old, and were made in Acheulian styles associated with the Early Stone Age. But the archaeologists have also discovered more than 7,000 tools that were made with the Levallois technique, according to a new paper published in the journal Nature.


https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smar...ns-about-spread-ancient-technology-180968020/
 
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#48
More news on the earliest domestication of horses.

The horse revolutionized prehistoric living, allowing people to travel farther and faster than ever before, and to wage war in yet-unheard-of ways. But who first domesticated horses is a hotly debated question. One leading hypothesis suggests Bronze Age pastoralists called the Yamnaya were the first to saddle up, using their fleet transport to sweep out from the Eurasian steppe and spread their culture—and their genes—far and wide. But a new study of ancient DNA suggests that wasn’t the case in Asia, and that another culture, the Botai, domesticated the horse first.

“This is a really exciting paper,” says Priya Moorjani, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who notes that the field of ancient DNA is moving so quickly that every study reveals something new. Yet other researchers caution that the debate isn’t anywhere near settled.

The first signs of horse domestication—pottery containing traces of mares’ milk and horse teeth with telltale wear from a riding bit—come from the Botai hunter-gatherers who lived in what is now Kazakhstan from about 3700 B.C.E. to 3100 B.C.E. Yet some researchers thought the isolated Botai were unlikely to have invented horse husbandry because they kept to their hunting and gathering ways long after their neighbors had adopted farming and herding.

These researchers assumed the Botai must have learned to handle horses from the Yamnaya, their neighbors to the west who were already herding sheep and goats. As part of the “steppe hypothesis,” the Yamnaya also migrated east and west during the Bronze Age, mixing with locals and spreading genes found in ancient and modern European, Central Asian, and South Asian populations. Some researchers hypothesize that they also spread early branches of the hypothesized Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language, which later diversified into today’s Indo-European languages, including English, Italian, Hindi, Russian, and Persian.

To explore the Yamnaya’s legacy in Asia, a team led by geneticist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom sequenced the whole genomes of 74 ancient Eurasians, most of whom lived between 3500 B.C.E. and 1500 B.C.E. Bodies included people from both the Botai and Yamnaya cultures, among others. The researchers devised a rough family tree, which they extended using samples from modern and ancient people.

Surprisingly, the team found no Yamnaya DNA in the three Botai individuals, suggesting the two groups hadn’t mixed, the team reports today in Science. That implies the Botai may have tamed horses on their own, following something called the “prey path” to domestication: hunting, then managing herds for food, and finally—riding. “It’s an extremely important achievement from a group of people we all think of as being pretty simple,” Willerslev says. ...

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...ly_2018-05-09&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2020743
 
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#49
And seeing as you assked for it: Donkeys. Fear not: the riding refers to the use of donkeys for transportation purposes.

This ancient skeleton suggests humans were riding donkeys nearly 5000 years ago
By Michael PriceMay. 16, 2018 , 2:00 PM

Some 4700 years ago, a caravan of Egyptian herders and their donkeys followed a trade route through the foothills of central Israel, destined for the ancient city-state of Tell es-Safi/Gath. There, a Bronze Age builder slaughtered and buried one of the young animals and built a mudbrick house atop it—a sacrificial offering to ensure the edifice’s stability.

When a team of archaeologists uncovered the donkey’s skeleton (pictured) in 2008, they noted curious indentations in its lower premolars. The beveling strongly resembled that seen in the teeth of horses and other equids when they wear a bit, a piece of material secured in an animal’s mouth to control its head movements when riding.

Now, new radiocarbon dating from elsewhere in the site suggests the animal lived around 2700 B.C.E., providing the earliest evidence yet of donkey ridership in the Near East, the authors report today in PLOS ONE.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...ans-were-riding-donkeys-nearly-5000-years-ago
 

escargot

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#50
Re: Ancient Manure May Be Earliest Proof of Horse Domesticat



Thong smoothers?? :shock: I don't want to to know if they're used before or after wearing thongs
Thong smoothers, I reckon, are tools for improving the surface of ships of leather used for making harness. Hides start off rough and need to be smoothed or the things they're used to make will rub the person's or animal's skin.
 

EnolaGaia

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#51
The timeframe for prehistoric humans outside Africa has been pushed back more than a quarter-million years ...

Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa
Scientists say they've found the earliest evidence of a human presence outside Africa.

Ancient tools discovered in China suggest primitive humans were in the region as early as 2.12 million years ago.

They are about 270,000 years older than the previous earliest evidence, which consists of bones and stone tools from Dmanisi in Georgia.

The research, by a Chinese-British team, appears in the journal Nature.

The stone artefacts were discovered at Shangchen on a plateau in northern China.

They comprise different types of stone tools constructed for a variety of purposes. All show signs of having been used.

Most were made of quartzite and quartz rock that probably came from the foothills of the Qinling Mountains, five to 10 km to the south of the dig site.

But we don't know which human species made them. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44797323
 

Kingsize Wombat

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#53
Just reading that same story on "The Atlantic" website, and it made me wonder if this is "Stone Age" or not.

But - apparently the consensus is that the Stone Age ranged from 2.5 Million Years ago to about 9600BC.

That's a heck of a long time, and while they are guessing who may have used these tools, they have found no remains of these creatures.

So - whose history are we looking at here?
 
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Yithian

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#55

blessmycottonsocks

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#56
More news on the earliest domestication of horses.

The horse revolutionized prehistoric living, allowing people to travel farther and faster than ever before, and to wage war in yet-unheard-of ways. But who first domesticated horses is a hotly debated question. One leading hypothesis suggests Bronze Age pastoralists called the Yamnaya were the first to saddle up, using their fleet transport to sweep out from the Eurasian steppe and spread their culture—and their genes—far and wide. But a new study of ancient DNA suggests that wasn’t the case in Asia, and that another culture, the Botai, domesticated the horse first.

“This is a really exciting paper,” says Priya Moorjani, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who notes that the field of ancient DNA is moving so quickly that every study reveals something new. Yet other researchers caution that the debate isn’t anywhere near settled.

The first signs of horse domestication—pottery containing traces of mares’ milk and horse teeth with telltale wear from a riding bit—come from the Botai hunter-gatherers who lived in what is now Kazakhstan from about 3700 B.C.E. to 3100 B.C.E. Yet some researchers thought the isolated Botai were unlikely to have invented horse husbandry because they kept to their hunting and gathering ways long after their neighbors had adopted farming and herding.

These researchers assumed the Botai must have learned to handle horses from the Yamnaya, their neighbors to the west who were already herding sheep and goats. As part of the “steppe hypothesis,” the Yamnaya also migrated east and west during the Bronze Age, mixing with locals and spreading genes found in ancient and modern European, Central Asian, and South Asian populations. Some researchers hypothesize that they also spread early branches of the hypothesized Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language, which later diversified into today’s Indo-European languages, including English, Italian, Hindi, Russian, and Persian.

To explore the Yamnaya’s legacy in Asia, a team led by geneticist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen and the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom sequenced the whole genomes of 74 ancient Eurasians, most of whom lived between 3500 B.C.E. and 1500 B.C.E. Bodies included people from both the Botai and Yamnaya cultures, among others. The researchers devised a rough family tree, which they extended using samples from modern and ancient people.

Surprisingly, the team found no Yamnaya DNA in the three Botai individuals, suggesting the two groups hadn’t mixed, the team reports today in Science. That implies the Botai may have tamed horses on their own, following something called the “prey path” to domestication: hunting, then managing herds for food, and finally—riding. “It’s an extremely important achievement from a group of people we all think of as being pretty simple,” Willerslev says. ...

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018...ly_2018-05-09&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2020743
There is some speculation that a section of cave art from the Les Trois Frères site (best known for the half-man, half-deer "sorcerer" image) has the earliest known depiction of a man riding a horse:

http://vejprty.com/xrayride.htm
 

Mikefule

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#57
Just reading that same story on "The Atlantic" website, and it made me wonder if this is "Stone Age" or not.

But - apparently the consensus is that the Stone Age ranged from 2.5 Million Years ago to about 9600BC.

That's a heck of a long time, and while they are guessing who may have used these tools, they have found no remains of these creatures.

So - whose history are we looking at here?
"Stone age" is a modern label and can be misleading. At the time, they did not know they were living in the stone age. If they thought about it at all, they thought they were modern.

The Palaeolithic ("old stone age") spans from the first use of stone tools, however crude, until the end of the Pleistocene, which was a period of glaciation. The label is therefore inconsistent, the beginning being defined by what we now know about their level of technical achievement then, and the end being defined by a geological epoch which would have existed irrespective of humans existing. The "date" of the beginning of the palaeolithic may well change if we find earlier evidence of the use of stone tools. At the moment, it runs from around 3,300,000 years ago until around 11,650 years ago. This is almost all of human history — and by human, I do not mean just homo sapiens.

The Mesolithic ("middle stone age") is defined by cultural and technological achievements and therefore it overlaps to some extent with the later ("upper") Palaeolithic, and the beginning and end dates of the Mesolithic vary for different parts of the world. In Europe, it was around 15,000 - 5,000 years ago.

The Neolithic ("new stone age") is also defined by cultural and technological achievements so the same arguments apply: there was some overlap with the earlier period, and the beginning and end dates varied regionally. The end of the Neolithic overlapped with the copper and bronze ages. Indeed, flint was still being knapped for flintlock firearms in the 19th century. People did not stop using old tools immediately that newer technology is available.

However, these are educated western labels and are applied rather arbitrarily. The aboriginal people of Australia were leading a Palaeolithic or Mesolithic way of life in the 18th century.

Throughout these periods, people were also using tools made of wood, animal bone, fish bone, horn, sinew, hide, woven vegetable fibres — anything and everything that was available to them. We focus on the stone because that has generally survived the best and is more easily identified and studied.

Throughout all these periods, there would have been technological developments, inventions, cultural changes. Knowledge and skills would have been lost and regained. Even today, there are noticeable cultural and linguistic differences between cities 50 miles apart, and enormous technological differences between countries around the world. Surely no period of the stone age was homogenous.
 
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#58
Please only post these comments on the Reoganisation Thread.

If and when posts get moved or threads merged, the comments cease to make sense and the cross-thread links go nowhere.
Point taken but it wasn't actually a request for a comment to be moved. I addressed it to Enola as a question and he pointed out why it fitted better here.
 

Kingsize Wombat

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#59
People were baking bread a lot earlier than previously thought, even before agriculture.

Archaeobotanical evidence reveals the origins of bread 14,400 years ago in northeastern Jordan

Significance
Despite being one of the most important foodstuffs consumed in the modern world, the origins of bread are still largely unknown. Here we report the earliest empirical evidence for the preparation of bread-like products by Natufian hunter-gatherers, 4,000 years before the emergence of the Neolithic agricultural way of life. The discovery of charred food remains has allowed for the reconstruction of the chaîne opératoire for the early production of bread-like products. Our results suggest the use of the wild ancestors of domesticated cereals (e.g. wild einkorn) and club-rush tubers to produce flat bread-like products. Cereal-based meals such as bread probably become staples when Neolithic farmers started to rely on the cultivation of domesticated cereal species for their subsistence.

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/07/10/1801071115

 
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