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Polish archaeologists study the first shepherds of Africa

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posted on Jul, 19 2016 @ 01:28 PM

Borderland of present day Egypt and Sudan today is a sunburned desert. But 10 thousand years ago, thousands of animals walked there among luxuriantly growing trees. Polish archaeologists are looking for traces of people, who lived there at that time and exploited the environment.
"We do not really know who were the communities, whose settlements and cemeteries are the target of our excavations" - told PAP Prof. Jacek Kabaciński from the Poznań branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS. The scientist heads the expedition in the region of Gebel Ramlah, which is located about 140 km west of the famous rock temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel. Poles work there since 2009.

I recently visited this area of Egypt, and it's one of the most bleak landscapes I've seen. However, this is one of the early areas where civilizations "began" - where people were starting to get enough resources and to domesticate animals; the foundations of what becomes civilization.

So if they don't leave a lot of traces, how do we know they were there?

"We encounter traces in the form of pits that were used to store food or dispose of garbage. We also find millstones, grinders, broken pottery and flint tools, remains of hunted gazelles, remains of goats, sheep and cattle they kept - all this clearly indicates that in these places people had lived, worked, ate meals" - explained Prof. Kabaciński.

This is typical of digs that I've been on. The story of "humans living in harmony with the Earth is romantic, but not consistent with what is found. We're messy... which is good, because that means we leave traces of ourselves for later generations to find.

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