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A wooden structure that predates our species has been discovered

A wooden structure that predates our species has been discovered

Madrid, September 20 (European Press) –

Half a million years ago, sooner than thought possible, Humans were already building wooden structures, according to archaeologists at the Universities of Liverpool and Aberystwyth.

Investigation, Published in “Nature” magazine Reports on the excavation of well-preserved wood at the archaeological site of Kalambo Falls (Zambia), Which dates back at least 476,000 years and predates the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens.

Expert analysis of stone tool cut marks on wood shows that these early humans shaped and joined two large pieces of wood to build a structure, Perhaps the foundation of a platform or part of the house.

This is the world’s first evidence of tree trunks being deliberately made to fit together. Until now, evidence of human use of wood has been limited to using it to make fires, carve sticks, and make spears.

Wood is rarely found at such ancient sites because it often rots and disappears, but at Kalambo Falls, permanently high water levels have preserved the wood.

This discovery challenges the prevailing view that Stone Age humans were nomadic. At Kalambo Falls, these people not only had a constant source of water, but they had the forest surrounding them It provided them with enough food to settle and build structures.

“This discovery changed the way I think about our early ancestors,” he says. It’s a statement Professor Larry Barham, from the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, who leads the Deep Roots of Humanity research project. Forget the “stone age” label and look at what these people were doing: they were making something new and great out of wood. They used their intelligence, imagination and skills to create something they had never seen before, something that had never existed before.“Highlights.

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He adds that they “changed their environment to make life easier, if only by making a platform for them to sit on next to the river to do their daily tasks. These people were more like us than we thought,” he emphasizes. .

Specialist dating of the finds was carried out by experts from Aberystwyth University using new luminescence dating techniques, which reveal the last time minerals in the sand surrounding the finds were exposed to sunlight, to determine their age.

Professor Geoff Dowler, from Aberystwyth University, said: “In this great age, dating finds is extremely difficult and we have used luminescence dating to do this. These new dating methods have far-reaching implications. Because it allows us to date much further back in time and reconstruct sites that allow us to glimpse human evolution“.

He adds: “The Kalambo Falls site was previously excavated in the 1960s, where similar pieces of wood were recovered, but they were unable to date them, so until now their true meaning was not clear.”

The Kalambo Falls site is located on the Kalambo River, above a 235-meter-high waterfall, on Zambia’s border with the Rukwa region of Tanzania, on the edge of Lake Tanganyika. The area is listed on UNESCO’s “temporary” list to become a World Heritage Site due to its archaeological importance.

“Our research shows that this site is much older than previously thought, so its archaeological importance is now even greater,” Dowler said. “It adds greater weight to the argument that it should be a UN World Heritage Site.”

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This research comes within the pioneering project “Deep Roots of Humanity”. An investigation into how human technology developed in the Stone Age. The project is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, and involved teams from the Zambia National Heritage Conservation Commission, Livingstone Museum, Motu Motu Museum and Lusaka National Museum.

“Kalambu Falls is an exceptional place and an important heritage asset of Zambia. The Deep Roots team looks forward to more exciting discoveries emerging from its underwater sands.” Professor Barham admits.