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Tabun Cave occupied intermittently from 500,000 to 40,000 years ago

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posted on Dec, 14 2014 @ 07:27 PM
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Did humans first master fire in Israel 350,000 years ago? Burnt flints found in cave show earliest evidence of our ancestors regularly using fire.



Some anthropologists claim that early humans, such asHomo erectus, began exploiting fire as long as 1.5 million years ago while still in Africa. However, much of this evidence - which consists of heated clays and charcoal fragments - is disputed and could have occurred as a result of natural bush fires.

There are some who believe that fire played an instrumental role in the evolution of early hominins around two million years ago when our teeth and guts became smaller. They have also argued that fire played a key role in the evolution of larger human brains. However, many experts believe that early uses of fire may well have been opportunistic where early humans used natural bush fires rather than lighting fires themselves.

The artifacts found at these sites often show few signs of burning, suggesting fire was not used regularly, according to Dr Shimelmitz and his colleagues, whose research is published in the Journal of Human Evolution. They say their findings at Tabun Cave are supported by evidence from other recent discoveries. Burnt flints, bones and ash found in the Qesem Cave in Tel Aviv, Israel, point towards the use of a hearth in this cave that has been dated to around 300,000 years ago.





Report on the dating of flints showing the use of fire





Burnt flints from Tabun Cave in northern Israel may help to rewrite history of human evolution and development of culture

Control of fire is too recent to explain the evolution of humans' big brains

But it would have shaped the development of human culture and behaviour

Fire use seems to have occurred after humans expanded into cold climates

Evidence is thought to be 50,000 years older than any previously finds

Detailed look at the levels in the cave (a little hard to see)







Exactly when humans first began using fire to make their lives easier remains one of the most controversial topics in archaeology. The earliest suggested date is around 1.5 million years ago. However, some research suggests that our ancestors first began using fire to cook their food as far back as two million years ago. Cooking meat played a vital role in human evolution, making it easier to digest, reducing the time it took to feed and requiring smaller teeth. A study in 2011 by biologists at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts compared the body patterns, DNA and other characteristics of modern humans, non-human primates and 14 extinct hominins. They found used the information to look for patterns when eating time began to reduce. They calculated that if humans were ordinary primates living off raw food, eating would take up 48 per cent of their day. However, modern humans spend just 4.7 per cent of their day to food consumption. They suggest that the evolution of smaller teeth in Homo erectus around 1.9 million years ago coincided with a change in diet that may have been driven by the cooking of food.


Additionally

Around 82 feet of sand, silt and clay have built up in the cave, allowing archaeologists to date the signs of human habitation left in each layer.

Among the remains found there were the skull fragments and bones from a female Neanderthal, that is thought to be around 120,000 years old.








Abstract The Neanderthal hominid Tabun C1, found in Israel by Garrod & Bate, was attributed to either layer B or C of their stratigraphic sequence. We have used gamma-ray spectrometry to determine the230Th/234U and231Pa/235U ratios of two bones from this skeleton, the mandible and a femur. The ages calculated from these ratios depend on the uranium uptake history of the bones. Assuming a model of early U (EU) uptake the age of the Tabun C1 mandible is 34±5 ka. The EU age of the femur is 19±2 ka. The femur may have experienced continuous (linear) U uptake which would give an age of 33±4 ka, in agreement with the mandible's EU age, but implies marked inhomogeneity in U uptake history at the site. These new age estimates for the skeleton suggest that it was younger than deposits of layer C. This apparent age is less than those of other Neanderthals found in Israel, and distinctly younger than the ages of the Skhul and Qafzeh burials. This suggests that Neanderthals did not necessarily coexist with the earliest modern humans in the region. All of the more complete Neanderthal fossils from Israel are now dated to the cool period of the last glacial cycle, suggesting that Neanderthals may have arrived in this region as a result of the southward expansion of their habitable range. The young age determined for the Tabun skeleton would suggest that Neanderthals survived as late in the Levant as they did in Europe.



edit on 14/12/14 by Hanslune because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 14 2014 @ 07:30 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune
Nice Hans,
Will read and enjoy



posted on Dec, 14 2014 @ 07:34 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune

Thank you for posting this very interesting find. It seems that the dates keep getting pushed back for most "firsts" in human pre-history.



posted on Dec, 14 2014 @ 09:01 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune




Fire use seems to have occurred after humans expanded into cold climates




I wonder if Neanderthal mave have brought fire cooking skills with them when they migrated souhward during the cooling period of the last glacial cycle? What is attributed to driving humans into colder regions? Possibly co-migration and social integration. After all, sharing food may have been a social acceptance grace, just as it is perceived as today. Fire used for cooking would also have allowed humans more time to tinker, rather spending all day hunting, eating, and digesting while sleeping. Fire for cooking allowed the body to focus more energy elsewhere, where certain genetic mutations could thrive, which Neanderthal had not developed. Reminds me of Thanksgiving in The Americas, where an entire culture and genetic base was driven extinct due to genetic deficiencies to disease...well, and mostly genocide...which probably befell Neanderthal as well.

Prometheus may have been Neanderthal...? Or Nephlium? He gave us knowledge of fire, and paid dearly for it, or so the myth goes...

Here is some other interesting links about Neanderthal migration, genetics, skills, et cetera:

www.livescience.com...

news.discovery.com...

news.discovery.com...


edit on 14-12-2014 by Boscov because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 14 2014 @ 11:06 PM
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I think there is a huge cover up going on in archaeological circles, regarding the actual human timeline. There is just so much stuff that they're finding now that doesn't fit the accepted parameters of human history as defined by archaeologists.

Artifacts out of place with the established timeline of human evolution have been found for some time, and they keep changing the official story as they find new things, but many things (such as hammers, advanced tools etc) have been found in coal hundreds of millions of years old, suggesting advanced civilizations capable of extraordinary alloy creation not even capable today have risen and obviously fallen in the way distant past.

Also, how do you explain that humans lived in caves until 5,000 BC but there are cities and temple structures found that date to 15,000 years earlier than that, and older?



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 12:35 AM
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Kids playing with a lighter 350,000 years ago? Things really haven't changed. At least they were doing it in a safe place. I bet they were trying to set the tail of a saber tooth tiger cub on fire.



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 01:02 AM
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originally posted by: babybunnies
I think there is a huge cover up going on in archaeological circles, regarding the actual human timeline. There is just so much stuff that they're finding now that doesn't fit the accepted parameters of human history as defined by archaeologists.


''They're' are archaeological and others associated with such study so the same guys you are blaming for 'hiding' stuff are the one uncovering it!


Artifacts out of place with the established timeline of human evolution have been found for some time, and they keep changing the official story as they find new things, but many things (such as hammers, advanced tools etc) have been found in coal hundreds of millions of years old,


Actually not there are stories of such but no evidence to support it, plus some hoaxes. Oh and no 'official story', there is no central archaeological structure, and I can assure you consensus is what you are dealing with and there is a great deal of disagreement within the many people so involved.



suggesting advanced civilizations capable of extraordinary alloy creation not even capable today have risen and obviously fallen in the way distant past.


Yet we have found no evidence of such


Also, how do you explain that humans lived in caves until 5,000 BC but there are cities and temple structures found that date to 15,000 years earlier than that, and older?


People were still HG'ers until the last generation and a few still cling to it even today. Civilization in the 'early days' was very much a minority action.



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 01:06 AM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
Kids playing with a lighter 350,000 years ago? Things really haven't changed. At least they were doing it in a safe place. I bet they were trying to set the tail of a saber tooth tiger cub on fire.


To start all you need are some flints (pyrites are much better), some vigor and anything flammable!



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: Hanslune

I found a little pile of rocks buried here that when rubbed together give off some red sparks. They are very hard. I am not sure if they are quartzite or if they are some sort of pyrite. If you were to put some moss in between them they would probably start a fire. I keep forgetting to try this although I have read about it somewhere. Sometimes the Indians would leave a couple of rocks piled in locations that were made of these materials. It was usually on areas of rock outcrops. Maybe they put them there so people traveling would build their fires on this rock instead of in the woods where they would catch the woods on fire.

This is just speculation though. The Indians were pretty smart about these things. Sometimes you see two or three small rocks out there in the hills around here sitting on rock. Sure the glacier could have left them there, but so could many tribes of Indians since the time of the glacier.



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 11:50 AM
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originally posted by: rickymouse
a reply to: Hanslune

I found a little pile of rocks buried here that when rubbed together give off some red sparks. They are very hard. I am not sure if they are quartzite or if they are some sort of pyrite. If you were to put some moss in between them they would probably start a fire. I keep forgetting to try this although I have read about it somewhere. Sometimes the Indians would leave a couple of rocks piled in locations that were made of these materials. It was usually on areas of rock outcrops. Maybe they put them there so people traveling would build their fires on this rock instead of in the woods where they would catch the woods on fire.

This is just speculation though. The Indians were pretty smart about these things. Sometimes you see two or three small rocks out there in the hills around here sitting on rock. Sure the glacier could have left them there, but so could many tribes of Indians since the time of the glacier.



I once came across a chert burin and a number of hewn blades sitting atop a rock on a sheltered ledge in the Malloura Valley. I suspect that about ten thousand years ago a hunter was sitting there looking out over the valley searching for game, and was making stone tools as he watched, he laid them down and never returned. Near it was also found four corroded .303 British, or 7.7×56mmR cartridges another hunter probably in the 1930-70's had sat near the same place and again left some of his tools behind.

This is a report done about thirty years afterwards in the same valley.

Report on the valley

The info on what I found is in this report but I cannot find it on the web (I cannot read French)


edit on 15/12/14 by Hanslune because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 01:18 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune

Some of the stuff I found is made of Chert also. I never even knew Chert existed before I started digging around here. It's kind of interesting to find someone's old big rock collection on my property. It sucks that I dug big sections of it to put in the house and yard and a lot of driveway before discovering the patterns in the rocks eighteen to twenty four inches under the ground. I think I am going to build some sort of ground sensing equipment to try to find the rows of rocks under ground. If I do it in the spring, I can modify my fishfinder, but the ground has to be wet.

I thought about renting one of those units, I am a Finn, that is out of the question. They cost a small fortune to rent. Maybe GSA Auctions will have an old government unit for cheap.
I haven't even thought of that before.



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 03:28 PM
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a reply to: rickymouse

Sound like you might be living atop a site, sink a couple of test pits:

How to sink a test pit

and view of how to do a test pit

Another way



posted on Dec, 15 2014 @ 04:32 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune

I found a row of rocks buried below the garden. I was taking them out and placing them around the edge. I got frustrated when rototilling the garden. I got curious why they were all in a row and noticed I was doing the same thing with them. The row was going more or less straight North and south. Part of it still exists, but the rocks in the garden were all removed. There was also a lot of little pieces of some broken flat rock all around the row. It was about a foot to a foot and a half under the soil, all loam. No other rocks or broken pieces anywhere in the garden at that depth. Some of the rocks still had some sort of cement and cemented little pieces on them. The rocks were mostly with a flat side up.

At first I thought it was an old foundation but I also noticed some looked like pieces of big old backbone from some giant animal. So I thought it might be a spine, but that turned out to not be the case. Only one row could still be a foundation but the little flat rocks on top and to the side were confusing me till I found a rock out by an old dried up spring and assembled the rocks I found in the loam. It looks like a layered mosiac turkey. Some of the little pieces had what looked like mortar on them but it was brittle. I have some rocks that look like they have mortar joints in them too, it appears to be a clay mixture.

The Indians said it is probably an old ceremonial site. They told me that all this stuff can be dug up but must remain on the site. I thought of trying to reconstruct the mosiacs but it would be pretty hard in a line of rocks because they are scattered up to a foot from the row of rocks. They would all be mixed up. I ran into another row out under my back trail with the same traits. I suppose they were to line paths.

The Indian elders I talked to said it is hard to tell who made this, and they told me they did work with clays to do stuff like that, but not their tribe. An archeologist I met said that he had no way of identifying who made them and that there are sites like that all over the place. Where the springs came from the earth.

So, I have no clue who did this and so far there is no writing, just scratches in some rocks, evidence of something like glaze fired onto some rocks, and a bunch of artifacts that can't be traced to any particular culture. So basicly I have a bunch of interesting rocks that people have ground or cemented together with a clay based mortar. I thought of taking the rocks to MTU to have some testing done but upon investigating the matter, I can't even be sure they were made here. Just like ancient settlers in the midwest would let guys date their daughters if they brought rocks for around the mothers garden, the Indians hauled interesting rocks to line the paths of their ceremonial sites.

The Indians were pretty good at doing things. There is some evidence of old European style, but the Lenope might have been here and they supposedly originated in Norway crossing the ice from Greenland. They could also have taught the Indians how to do things and with the trade going on the stuff could have been made elsewhere.

I have only found a few scratch patterns that look like animals and some scratch patterns that look like possible single letters, no groups of letters or symbols. But I have only scratched the surface.

I inadvertantly found an interesting place to build my home.
But now I do not want to disturb any more of it without doing it the right way.



posted on Dec, 16 2014 @ 12:52 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune

Cool. Thanks for this. F&S&


[Am surprised this find only alters the timeline by 50,000 years. Thought it would be longer.]



posted on Dec, 16 2014 @ 07:50 PM
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I'm not sure why they are getting all worked up about fire, as humans had been using fire for nearly a million years by the time people settled at Tabun. 

 Some of the best evidence comes from South Africa's Wonderwerk cave .

 It's still a very interesting site, I'm not sure if it's the same cave that had later alternating seasonal occupations. The one I'm thinking of had alternating Hss and Hsn occupations, and during the later stages both might have shared the cave for a short period.

About South African fire


Another promising site is a South African cave called Swartkrans, where archaeologists in the ’80s found burned bones in a section dating between 1 million and 1.5 million years ago. In 2004, Williams College chemist Anne Skinner analyzed the bones using electron spin resonance, which estimates the temperature to which an artifact has been heated by measuring molecular fragments called free radicals. She determined that the bones had reached at least 900 degrees — too hot for most wildfires, but consistent with a campfire. But since the cave has a gaping mouth and a downward-sloping floor, naysayers argue that the objects might have washed in later after being burned outside.


Until the Wonderwerk Cave find, Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, a lakeside site in Israel, was considered to have the oldest generally accepted evidence of human-controlled fire. There, a team of scientists found traces of numerous hearths dating to between 690,000 and 790,000 years ago. A wide range of clues made this site convincing, including isolated clusters of burned flint, as if toolmakers had been knapping hand axes by several firesides. The team also found fragments of burned fruit, grain and wood scattered about.


Then came Wonderwerk. The ash-filled sediment that Goldberg and Berna found came from a spot approximately 100 feet from the entrance to the tunnel-like cave, too far to have been swept in by the elements. The team also found circular chips of fractured stone known as pot-lid flakes — telltale signs of fire — in the same area. These clues turned up throughout the million-year-old layer of sediment, indicating that fires had burned repeatedly at the site.


Digging Deeper


Does that mean fire drove the evolution of H. erectus? Is the cooking hypothesis correct? The occupants who left these ashes at Wonderwerk lived nearly a million years after the emergence of H. erectus. Goldberg and Berna point out that it’s unclear whether the cave’s inhabitants knew how to start a fire from scratch or depended on flames harvested from grass fires outside the cave. If they were eating barbecue, it may have been only an occasional luxury. Whether that could have had an impact on human development remains an open question.



discovermagazine.com...
edit on 16-12-2014 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)



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