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African Civilization May Be Far Older Than We Thought

 
 
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2012 07:36 pm
http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0730/Start-date-for-human-civilization-moved-back-20-000-years-or-so

A new analysis of artifacts from a cave in South Africa reveals that the residents were carving bone tools, using pigments, making beads and even using poison 44,000 years ago. These sorts of artifacts had previously been linked to the San culture, which was thought to have emerged around 20,000 years ago.

"Our research proves that the Later Stone Age emerged in South Africa far earlier than has been believed and occurred at about the same time as the arrival of modern humans in Europe," study researcher Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, said in a statement.

The Later Stone Age in Africa occurred at the same time as Europe's Upper Paleolithic Period, when modern humans moved into Europe from Africa and met the Neanderthals about 45,000 years ago.

"[T]he differences in technology and culture between the two areas are very strong, showing the people of the two regions chose very different paths to the evolution of technology and society," Villa said. [10 Mysteries of the First Humans]

Traces of civilization have been found going back nearly 80,000 years in Africa, but these fragments — bone tools, carved beads — vanish from the archaeological record by about 60,000 years ago.

In fact, almost nothing is known about what happened in Southern Africa between 40,000 and 20,000 years ago, Villa and his colleagues wrote online today (July 30) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This gap makes it hard to link middle-Stone Age societies to the ones that came later.

The researchers brought the latest in dating technology to bear on a site on the border of South Africa and Swaziland called Border Cave. They found that a number of the artifacts in the cave were much older than expected. [See Amazing Cave Photos]

Ostrich eggshell beads, sharp bone points likely used for arrowheads, and notched bones were among the fragments of life dating back thousands of years before the San were thought to have emerged. One long-bone tool is decorated with a spiral incision that was then filled with red-clay pigment. A set of warthog or pig tusks shows signs of grinding and scraping. Other bones are marked with notches, as if they were used to keep a tally of something.

The researchers also found beads, several apparently deliberately blackened by fire, one dating back more than 38,000 years. A piece of wood associated with a stone with a hole through it was dated to about 35,000 years ago. The tool appears to be an early digging stick of the sort used by the later San people to unearth roots and termite larvae.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 4 • Views: 2,266 • Replies: 15
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Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2012 07:39 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Quote:
POISON darts and beeswax have been found in a South African cave, suggesting that a hunter-gatherer culture emerged 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Artefacts at the Border Cave, an archaeological site on the border of Kwa Zulu Natal and Swaziland, have been reanalysed and dated to 44,000 years ago, about twice as old as widely believed, said the research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


http://www.news.com.au/world/south-african-cave-find-pushes-stone-age-industry-back-to-44000-years/story-fndir2ev-1226439306287
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2012 09:37 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
s interesting that Mortillet and Leakey's terminolgy of African civilization sequences clearly identified the "Aurignacian period" following the Mousterian and just before the Solutrean stage and included the first attempts at building large communties than just family bandsareas in Africa and then Europe. They were ridiculed and only radio dating was accepted. Turns out they didnt have enough radio and magntic data to make a generalization that civi;ization culd b 100000 years old.
But the guys in this article seem oblivious to the work that had gone on before but had been dismissed by workers from the 60's on.
I lways like to see a good scientific argu,ment continue until someone has data to end it.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2012 09:42 pm
@farmerman,
There's some more data on those two links I provided, but they're just popular consumer newspaper articles, not from scientific journals.I'll try to surf around and see if I can find something a skosh bit more scholarly.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jul, 2012 09:47 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Theres a book by Herbert Wendt " Ich Suchte Adam" or "Im Suchen Adam" (the german book was" I search for Adam" but the English translation was made as "In Search of Adam" (So I re translated it back to German).

That book, published in 1955 , was a compilation and a terminus of classical datingand was the beginning of later.more techy based age dating. Sometimes the old guys were right (maybe)
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jul, 2012 03:20 am
It's a very poorly written article, LA. It's worth looking around oneself to get more information, but they've really confused their terminology, just as one example. They also haven't defined what they mean by civiliazation--although it appears they (the journalists, not the researchers) may mean artifacts of technological culture. I'm glad you posted it though, because it will be easy enough to do searches for it, even if one has to wade through the journalistic confusion.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jul, 2012 06:49 am
@Lustig Andrei,
I googled Paola Villa (through the news tab). Quite a bit more information if you follow the links through. The companion research in France is also interesting.

Thanks for the heads-up!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 31 Jul, 2012 06:54 am
Cool . . . thanks for the good idea.
0 Replies
 
Rickoshay75
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 03:30 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Lustig Andrei wrote:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0730/Start-date-for-human-civilization-moved-back-20-000-years-or-so

A new analysis of artifacts from a cave in South Africa reveals that the residents were carving bone tools, using pigments, making beads and even using poison 44,000 years ago. These sorts of artifacts had previously been linked to the San culture, which was thought to have emerged around 20,000 years ago.

"Our research proves that the Later Stone Age emerged in South Africa far earlier than has been believed and occurred at about the same time as the arrival of modern humans in Europe," study researcher Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, said in a statement.

The Later Stone Age in Africa occurred at the same time as Europe's Upper Paleolithic Period, when modern humans moved into Europe from Africa and met the Neanderthals about 45,000 years ago.

"[T]he differences in technology and culture between the two areas are very strong, showing the people of the two regions chose very different paths to the evolution of technology and society," Villa said. [10 Mysteries of the First Humans]

Traces of civilization have been found going back nearly 80,000 years in Africa, but these fragments — bone tools, carved beads — vanish from the archaeological record by about 60,000 years ago.

In fact, almost nothing is known about what happened in Southern Africa between 40,000 and 20,000 years ago, Villa and his colleagues wrote online today (July 30) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This gap makes it hard to link middle-Stone Age societies to the ones that came later.

The researchers brought the latest in dating technology to bear on a site on the border of South Africa and Swaziland called Border Cave. They found that a number of the artifacts in the cave were much older than expected. [See Amazing Cave Photos]

Ostrich eggshell beads, sharp bone points likely used for arrowheads, and notched bones were among the fragments of life dating back thousands of years before the San were thought to have emerged. One long-bone tool is decorated with a spiral incision that was then filled with red-clay pigment. A set of warthog or pig tusks shows signs of grinding and scraping. Other bones are marked with notches, as if they were used to keep a tally of something.

The researchers also found beads, several apparently deliberately blackened by fire, one dating back more than 38,000 years. A piece of wood associated with a stone with a hole through it was dated to about 35,000 years ago. The tool appears to be an early digging stick of the sort used by the later San people to unearth roots and termite larvae.



How do they know how old the artifacts are? Recorded history doesn't go back that far.
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 03:37 pm
@Rickoshay75,
Rickoshay75 wrote:
How do they know how old the artifacts are? Recorded history doesn't go back that far.


Carbon dating is the most common way of determining the age of archeological artefacts, even when they date to within the historical period.
Rickoshay75
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Aug, 2012 04:48 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Lustig Andrei wrote:

Rickoshay75 wrote:
How do they know how old the artifacts are? Recorded history doesn't go back that far.


Carbon dating is the most common way of determining the age of archeological artefacts, even when they date to within the historical period.


Carbon dating, huh -- How dos it work, how accurate is it?
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Aug, 2012 02:57 pm
@Rickoshay75,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiocarbon_dating
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2012 04:30 am
@Lustig Andrei,
I use radio dating all the time. I dont use C14 much because its used for fairly recent times. I do use C14 for tracing water and mineral solutions (we use the C from dissolved CO2).

C14, depending upon the mass specs used , is at least+/1 percent error. So , it can be as accurate as10 years per thousand. 1 to 2 percent accuracy is pretty much the error bar. e can clean up samples to increase accuracy as well as look at stable isotopes along with radioisotopes.
The labs usually take multiple aliquotes of the sample to get some statistical cluster.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Aug, 2012 04:37 am
@Rickoshay75,
aecheological dating uses C14 as a complex of other techniques like alpha tracking and "ana;yses of patinas" and context and stratigraphy.
Its a pretty science loaded technique nowadays.
They will usually leave an artifact in place until every dicipline has had a chance to study it in situ. An archeological stratigrapher will come over and look at the sedimentary layers around the artifact to see whether theres any contextual simmilarities to the sediments and what age those sediments are (eg dumped, wind blown, ater borne etc).
0 Replies
 
veloso
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2014 06:21 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Why people disconsider the hypothesis F?
https://scontent-a-mia.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xfa1/v/t1.0-9/1724774_301646733365208_5986631720135288716_n.jpg?oh=a15198727091d5556127bd5d81ad25ec&oe=550B9DC1
Rickoshay75
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Dec, 2014 05:53 pm
@veloso,
0 Replies
 
 

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