i came across this news this weekend, which is almost a year old but did not find posted on ATS via search..in this case, "modern behaviour" means
something that can be compared to that which is in existence today, specifically modern hunter-gatherers such as the San bush folk... anyone coming
here expecting advanced ancient cultures with flying chariots, vibro drills and so forth may want to look away now.. though, if you stick around and
read the links it may benefit your world view
Recent archaeological discoveries have revealed that pigment use,
beads, engravings, and sophisticated stone and bone tools were
already present in southern Africa 75,000 y ago. Many of these
artifacts disappeared by 60,000 y ago, suggesting that modern
behavior appeared in the past and was subsequently lost before
becoming firmly established.
Now an archaeological team in South Africa have discoved artifacts in a cave in KwaZulu-Natal, that establishes the earliest yet date for what is
widely recognised as modern behaviour (via a "cultural suite" of artifacts, ie: a collection of innovations making a "full-house") in prehistoric
people at approximately 44kya which pushes the bounds of cultural modernity in africa back from 20kya.
“The dating and analysis of archaeological material discovered at Border Cave in South Africa, has allowed us to demonstrate that many elements
of material culture that characterise the lifestyle of San hunter-gatherers in southern Africa, were part of the culture and technology of the
inhabitants of this site 44,000 years ago,”
so here we have evidence of a way of life who's key characteristics of technology and material culture can be traced back to a culture some 44
thousand years ago.. the same cave was in use for many thousands of years and includes finds from around about 30kya and 20kya showing that it endured
up untill the previously earliest recognised evidence.
The artifacts revealed uses and practices very similar to that of modern San applications. Some of them:
•Digging sticks weighted with perforated stones, dated to about 44,000 years ago;
•A wooden stick decorated with incisions, used to hold and carry a poison containing ricinoleic acid found in castor beans;
•Dated to about 40,000 years ago, a lump of beeswax, mixed with the resin of toxic Euphorbia, and possibly egg, wrapped in vegetal fibres made from
the inner bark of a woody plant. Like the modern San equivalent, it was likely used for hafting arrowheads or tools;
•Warthog tusks shaped into awls and possibly spear heads; and
•Small pieces of stone for hunting weapons, confirmed by the discovery of resin residue still adhering to some of the tools, identified as a
suberin (waxy substance) produced from the sap of Podocarpus (yellowwood) trees.
and a pic of some of the artifacts...
Organic Artefacts from Border Cave
a) Wooden digging stick made from Flueggea virosa and dated 40,986 - 38,986 cal BP,
b) Wooden poison applicator made from Flueggea virosa dated to 24,564 - 23,941 cal BP and preserving a residue containing poisonous ricinoleic acid
found in castor beans,
c) Bone arrow point decorated with a spiral incision filled with red pigment,
d) Bone object with four sets of notches, each made by a different tool, and probably used for notational purposes,
e) Lump of beeswax containing Euphorbia tirucalli resin and possibly egg, bound with vegetal twine and dated 41,167 - 39,194 cal BP,
f) Ostrich eggshell beads dated 44,856 - 41,010 cal BP and marine shell beads used as personal ornaments. Scale bars = 1 cm.
The beeswax and resin/egg mix is a hafting compound, ie a glue and filler for the affixing of points to shafts. i have also seen a thread where
similar compounds have been tried by primitive skills enthusiasts and were found to be effective, but inferior to recipes based on pine-pitch and
birch-bark tar.. the Euphorbia element was possibly useless as a poison hence the assumption that it is for hafting. it was most likely bound in the
vegetable material as the above experiments showed that it became runny easily when exposed to the heat of prolonged sunlight. The bound compound was
possibly for mobile use such as running repairs to weaponry (the binding serving as a container perhaps, maybe even impregnating the binding producing
a prehistoric sticky-tape)and the example below is unbound (and vulnerable to heat and light so not suitable for carrying on hunting trips etc) and
may well have been soley for use in the shade of the cave while prepping gear for hunting.
This is also the earliest known human use of beeswax
and a close up of some poison and glue applicators which particularly fascinated me
this is a fascinating piece of ancient hunting tech, a stick with grooves around it, that would keep the two different materials in place.
the darker material is the poison, containing Ricinoleic Acid from Castor Beans... yes they used a form of Ricin in hunting and i would be fascinated
to hear from members with a better knowledge of toxins about this, but i for one am most impressed, and a little bit scared by this!
the yellowish material is the hafting compound, mentioned above.
In Depth Report
Pretty fascinating all-round if you ask me and it doubles the age of the cultural suite of advanced tools, hafting techniques using recipes of
combined ingredients and their storage, manufacture of decorative jewellery and pigments, adapted digging sticks using weights and the use and storage
of poisons for hunting.
this also shows the intelligence and adaptability of our ancestors in antiquity, with ingenious tools and use of natural materials and poisons.
Besides this, it shows that some stone-age cultures developed new technological innovations, used these for thousands of years and then as their
cultures died off, their new tech went to the grave with them and awaited other folk to make the same innovations.
not quite the lost and rediscovered ancient tech that many readers here await proof of! sorry about that, but this is fascinating, and quite real.
any thoughts ats?
edit on 29-4-2013 by skalla because: clarity
edit on 29-4-2013 by skalla because: title too long
29-4-2013 by skalla because: typo