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Lead researcher Marcel Buric, from the Department of Prehistoric Archaeology at Zagreb's Faculty of Philosophy, explained that prehistoric houses at the time were made from wattle and had roofs made of hay, so using an open fireplace was dangerous. As a result, they came up with an ingenious solution, which enabled them to cook food, have hot water and central heating in their dwelling.
"It was permanently heated all day long and as the residents came home after a day in the fields they ate hot food cooked by the oven, washed in warm water, and went to sleep in a room heated by the same kiln. Just like some kitchen ovens today," said Mr Buric.
The ancient prehistoric oven worked in a similar way to a modern-day AGA, a heat storage stove and cooker, which works on the principle that a heavy frame can absorb heat from a relatively low-intensity but continuously-burning source, and the accumulated heat can then be used when needed for cooking and other purposes.
However, the research team made another very rare and important discovery at the site - a smelted piece of iron ore by the kiln, thought to date back thousands of years before man learned to smelt and work iron. "It's not possible to say what it was used for but it is a significant find," said Buric.
originally posted by: beansidhe
a reply to: Kangaruex4Ewe
I'm writing really quickly, because I keep timing out?
But then I'm editing it, to make a sensible response.
Thank you, and hi Kangareux!
I love finds like this as they really challenge our perceptions of our Stone Age families. It makes me wonder if this era wasn't more similar to Mediaeval Europe? Each new finds provides wonderful detail into someone's life, what they valued, what mattered.
Hope all is good with you
The dwellings contain a number of stone-built pieces of furniture, including cupboards, dressers, seats, and storage boxes. Each dwelling was entered through a low doorway that had a stone slab door that could be closed "by a bar that slid in bar-holes cut in the stone door jambs".
A sophisticated drainage system was even incorporated into the village's design, one that included a primitive form of toilet in each dwelling. Seven of the houses have similar furniture, with the beds and dresser in the same places in each house. The dresser stands against the wall opposite the door, and would have been the first thing seen by anyone entering the dwelling.
Each of these houses has the larger bed on the right side of the doorway and the smaller on the left. Lloyd Laing noted that this pattern accorded with Hebridean custom up to the early 20th century suggesting that the husband's bed was the larger and the wife's was the smaller.
The discovery of beads and paint-pots in some of the smaller beds may support this interpretation. (Central Asian yurt dwellings have an identical internal spatial gender assignment, central fire and storage chest opposite the entrance.) Additional support may come from the recognition that stone boxes lie to the left of most doorways, forcing the person entering the house to turn to the right-hand, 'male', side of the dwelling. At the front of each bed lie the stumps of stone pillars that may have supported a canopy of fur; another link with recent Hebridean style.
Evidence of home furnishings
The eighth house has no storage boxes or dresser, but has been divided into something resembling small cubicles. When this house was excavated, fragments of stone, bone and antler were found. It is possible that this building was used as a house to make simple tools such as bone needles or flint axes.
The presence of heat-damaged volcanic rocks and what appears to be a flue, support this interpretation. House 8 is distinctive in other ways as well. It is a stand-alone structure not surrounded by midden, instead there is a "porch" protecting the entrance through walls that are over 2 metres (6.6 ft) thick.
Last month a study led by the Gibraltar Museum and published in PLOS ONE documented a multitude of fossil remains of bird wings, particularly from big black raptors, at Neanderthal sites in southern Europe. The team suggested that Neanderthals could have been plucking feathers from the wings for personal use or even for ritual ornaments.
"We have other evidence for Neanderthals preferring mineral pigments that are dark, blackish color," Stony Brook's Shea said. "There may be something for them with the color black just as there seems to be something for us with the color red."
(Related: "Neanderthals' Last Stand Was in Gibraltar, Study Suggests.")
Sophisticated art, however, still appears to remain in the realm of H. sapiens.
The ancestors of modern humans left behind images of animals and other objects in caves around the world, most famously at Lascaux cave and Chauvet Cave (pictures) in southern France. Paintings in the latter cave could be as ancient as 37,000 years old. (See a prehistoric time line.)