May 26, 2024


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The site highlights early humans’ mastery of wood, which has been largely lost

The site highlights early humans’ mastery of wood, which has been largely lost

The Stone Age, which began approximately 3 million years ago, marks the time when tools first appeared. Early humans used stones for hammering, stones for grinding, and sharp stone chips as knives and projectile points. But the Stone Age can also be called the Wood Age, says German archaeologist Thomas Terberger The New York Times. Although wooden tools are difficult to find intact, they probably “existed as many times as stone tools, i.e. 2.5 [million] Or 3 million years,” says Terberger, whose research has uncovered wooden spears and throwing sticks that are now considered “the oldest preserved hunting weapons,” according to times.

Starting in 2021, Terberger and his colleagues examined more than 700 wood fragments that were excavated from peat from an open pit coal mine in northern Germany between 1994 and 2008 and preserved in distilled water. Because the lack of oxygen in peat slows the decomposition of organic matter, researchers were able to identify at least 20 hunting weapons, including 7-foot-long spears and double-pointed throwing sticks, as well as 35 non-weapons, including artifacts Which is believed to contain was used to process animal skins, according to the study published last month in With people. The tools were carved from hard, flexible spruce, pine, or pine, and were likely collected from two to three miles away. The craftsmanship is “exceptional,” and there is also evidence of “tool maintenance and recycling.”

These tools date back to 300,000 years ago, when Neanderthals in Europe were replacing their direct ancestors, Homo heidelbergensis, according to times. No human bones have been found at the Spear Horizon site in Schöningen. Either way, the study provides 187 examples of early humans splitting and scraping wood for their own uses. “Until now, it was thought that wood splitting was practiced only by modern humans,” says Dirk Leder, the study’s lead author. times. Experts believe that early humans were carpenters. But of the thousands of archaeological sites dating back to the Paleolithic (lower Paleolithic) period between 2.7 million years ago and 200,000 years ago, “wood has been extracted from fewer than 10 sites,” according to the British Daily Mail. times. (More discovery stories.)

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