Family of rabbits unearth 8,000-year-old Stone Age artefacts

Family of rabbits unearth 8,000-year-old Stone Age artefacts



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Rabbits are considered to be the bane of a farmer’s life as they relentlessly burrow and dig-up the land. However, one family of rabbits has won some favour in Land’s End, England, after their digging unearthed a number of ancient artefacts , some dating back at least 8,000 years.

A ‘gold mine’ of Stone Age arrow heads and flint tools were found in a freshly dug network of rabbit burrows, leading archaeologists from ‘Big Heritage’ to plan a full-scale excavation of the site, which will take place over two years.

Land's End is a headland and small settlement in western Cornwall, England. It is the most westerly point of the country and is nestled precariously on the inhospitable Atlantic coast. It is a land imprinted with thousands of years of myth and legend. Its windswept fields are peppered with incredible records of ancient times, including megalithic monuments, Celtic shrines, ancient tin mines, burial sites, and preserved ancient villages.

Although there are a number of important archaeological sites in the local area, the latest Land's End dig will almost certainly be the first prompted by a family of rabbits. The formal excavation of the 150-acre area has not yet begun, but an initial analysis suggests that there could be a large Neolithic cemetery, Bronze Age burial mounds and an Iron Age hill fort buried there.

“It seems important people have been buried here for thousands of years - probably because of the stunning views. But it's a million-to-one chance rabbits should make such an astounding find,” said Team leader Dean Paton. “A family of rabbits has just rewritten the history books.”


    2. Prehistoric Times

    Humans are curious creatures. We want to know where we came from, in part, as a way of figuring out where we are going in the future.

    Our need to know is sometimes overwhelming. Archaeologists and anthropologists dig through dirt, study DNA samples, examine artifacts, and try to construct a picture of the earliest human ancestors.

    Artifacts, by the way, are not facts about art. Rather, artifacts are things created by humans (tools, vases, clothing) for practical purposes.

    Can You Dig It?

    Digging into our ancestors' past is hard work. Records of human life were not kept millions of years ago. What was life like for cavepeople in the Stone Age? Did Fred Flintstone actually wear leopard skin suits and eat brontosaurus burgers?

    Evidence of life from about 30,000 years ago has been found in cave paintings, in burial chambers, and in the form of crude tools. But what about time dating earlier than that? This "Prehistoric" period &mdash before writing and civilizations &mdash is called the Stone Age and is extremely valuable to our understanding of our earliest hominid ancestors. Hominids comprise humans today, extinct ancestors, and apes that share similarities with humans.

    The earliest and longest period of the Stone Age is called the Paleolithic Age. This comes from the Greek word Palaios , meaning "long ago" or "old," and lithos , meaning "stone" &mdash put together, Paleolithic Age means Old Stone Age.


    This may have been what early human ancestors looked like over three million years ago.

    The Old Stone Age began approximately 4.5 million years ago. It lasted until about 25 thousand years ago &mdash relatively recently in terms of the overall age of the earth. It was at the beginning of the Old Stone Age, approximately 4.4 million years ago, that the first human ancestors made their appearance on earth.

    Approximately 3.5 million years ago, hominids began walking upright. What did they eat? Where did they live? The archaeological evidence is not clear. Those who study the earliest hominids do know, however, that these human ancestors physically changed in response to their environment.

    Chill Out

    Dramatic changes in world climate started taking place about 1.5 million years ago. Most of the world became cold &mdash really cold. This plunge in temperature began one of four distinct periods of frigid temperatures known as an Ice Age. Each of these frigid periods lasted from 10,000 to 50,000 years. The most recent chilled the Earth just over 10,000 years ago.

    During this most recent Ice Age, the northern polar icecap moved so far south that massive sheets of ice were created over much of the northern hemisphere. In some areas the ice was several miles thick. About 1/3 of the earth's surface was encased in an icy layer &mdash that's four times the amount of ice normally found on earth today. Naturally, hunting and gathering abilities were interfered with during the Ice Ages.

    Once these frigid years were over, a revolution took place &mdash humans started planting crops. This new way of life, which began about 10,000 years ago, led to permanent settlements and the world's first communities. Farming and the domestication of animals mark the beginning of the Neolithic Age, also called the New Stone Age.

    So what then did Fred Flintstone wear and eat? What follows is a look at some of our earliest known human ancestors &mdash how they lived, how they changed, and how they interacted with their environment.

    Archeologists and anthropologists "meet the Flintstones" every time they unearth the remains of prehistoric people. Their work helps to answer profound questions:


    Who Were the Vikings?

    Contrary to some popular conceptions of the Vikings, they were not a “race” linked by ties of common ancestry or patriotism, and could not be defined by any particular sense of “Viking-ness.” Most of the Vikings whose activities are best known come from the areas now known as Denmark, Norway and Sweden, though there are mentions in historical records of Finnish, Estonian and Saami Vikings as well. Their common ground𠄺nd what made them different from the European peoples they confronted–was that they came from a foreign land, they were not 𠇌ivilized” in the local understanding of the word and–most importantly–they were not Christian.

    Did you know? The name Viking came from the Scandinavians themselves, from the Old Norse word "vik" (bay or creek) which formed the root of "vikingr" (pirate).

    The exact reasons for Vikings venturing out from their homeland are uncertain some have suggested it was due to overpopulation of their homeland, but the earliest Vikings were looking for riches, not land. In the eighth century A.D., Europe was growing richer, fueling the growth of trading centers such as Dorestad and Quentovic on the Continent and Hamwic (now Southampton), London, Ipswich and York in England. Scandinavian furs were highly prized in the new trading markets from their trade with the Europeans, Scandinavians learned about new sailing technology as well as about the growing wealth and accompanying inner conflicts between European kingdoms. The Viking predecessors–pirates who preyed on merchant ships in the Baltic Sea–would use this knowledge to expand their fortune-seeking activities into the North Sea and beyond.


    Like Moving Mountains

    To simulate the manner in which the ancient builders of the Moai would have carried the giant structures everywhere across the Easter Island, an engineer from the Czech Republic, Pavel Pavel, teamed up with an adventurer from Norway, Thor Heyerdahl, and built their own accurate replica of the Moai statue. The two used a single rope, secured it tightly around the head and then used another one following the same approach on the base of the statue.

    Together with 16 other people, they were able to move the statue albeit in a snail-like pace. But since their pulling created some minor damage on the statue, they opted to conclude the activity in advance. After the event, both made the prediction that it was possible for their team to move the giant statue 330 feet per day. If we did the math, then it would require nearly twenty people 160 days to move one statue for a distance of just one mile!


    Stone Age 5000 Bc

    KEY TOPICS
    In Europe, the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, began about 8000 BC, and was signaled by the development of agriculture, with consequent increase in stability of the population and hence elaboration of social structure. [1] In the Near East the Stone Age lasted only until 3500 BC after which, as people learned how to smelt metals, it gave way to the Bronze Age. [1] These were shaped by being hammered carefully with another stone, Later in the Old Stone Age, about 18,000 BC, Solutrean hunters were making very elegant scrapers and arrowheads (C). by about 15,000 BC Homo sapiens was also an expert fisherman who carved bone harpoons (D). [1]

    Neolithic or New Stone Age: begins with the introduction of farming, dating variously from c. 9,000 BCE in the Near East, c. 7,000 BCE in Southeast Europe, c. 6,000 BCE in East Asia, and even later in other regions. [2] The Neolithic (or New Stone Age ), lasting from the start of agriculture between c. 9000-c. 4000 BCE until the beginning of bronze use c. 3300 BCE. [2] The Mesolithic (or Middle Stone Age ), lasting from the end of the last Ice Age until the start of agriculture, between c. 9000-c. 4000 BCE. [2] Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age : In purely scientific terms, the Mesolithic begins at the end of a period known in geology as the Younger Dryas stadial, the last cold snap, which marks the end of Ice Age, about 9,600 BCE. The Mesolithic period ends when agriculture starts. [2] Paleolithic or Old Stone Age : from the first production of stone artefacts, about 2.5 million years ago, to the end of the last Ice Age, about 9,600 BCE. This is the longest Stone Age period. [2] It is split up into three periods: the Paleolithic, or Old Stone Age, began with the emergence of human-like creatures, the earliest stone tools being some 2.3 million years old and associated with the australopithecines. [1]

    As elsewhere in eastern and central Europe, the Stone Age human cultures went through the stages known as the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, each bringing new refinements of the stone tool making techniques. [3] The Stone Age cultures ranged from early human groups with primitive tools to advanced agricultural societies, which used sophisticated stone tools, built fortified settlements and developed copper metallurgy. [3]

    In a later culture the Azilian people (located at Ariège, southwest France) of the Mesolithic the Middle Stone Age made objects such as painted pebbles. [1] The Mesolithic, or Middle Stone Age, was confined exclusively to north-west Europe. [1]

    The earliest global date for the beginning of the Stone Age is 2.5 million years ago in Africa, and the earliest end date is about 3300 BCE, which is the beginning of Bronze Age in the Near East. [2] The Palaeolithic (or Old Stone Age ) period, ranging from c. 2,6 million years ago until c. 12,000 years ago. [2] From the late Old Stone Age to the time of his settling down the Neolithic or New Stone Age man worked in a number of materials and made many kinds of objects. [1] In time, bronze became the primary material for tools and weapons, and a good part of the stone technology became obsolete, signaling the end of the Stone Age. [2] Tools and weapons during the Stone Age were not made exclusively of stone: organic materials such as antler, bone, fibre, leather and wood were also employed. [2] Stone Age - Ancient History Encyclopedia Stone Age Cristian Violatti From the dawn of our species to the present day, stone-made artefacts are the dominant form of material remains that have survived to today concerning human technology. [2] The Stone Age era lasted 800,000 years, and involved three different human species : Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens. [3] These stones (megaliths), such as Stonehenge, are the last great relics of the Stone Age and were probably used to calculate the times of sunrise and sunset at various seasons of the year. [1] The divisions used are those delineating the European Stone Age however, many regions around the world underwent various stages of Stone Age development at different times. [4] The Stone Age was the stage in man's cultural development preceding the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. [1] The basis of this framework is technological: it revolves around the notion of three successive periods or ages: Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age, each age being technologically more complex than the one before it. [2] The term Neolithic Period refers to the last stage of the Stone Age - a term coined in the late 19th century CE by scholars. [2] The Stone Age begins with the first production of stone implements and ends with the first use of bronze. [2] The Stone Age in territory of today's Poland is divided into the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. [3] This 'Venus', carved from a mammoth bone, is from the Gravettian culture of the Old Stone Age. [1] Since the chronological limits of the Stone Age are based on technological development rather than actual date ranges, its length varies in different areas of the world. [2] The term " Stone Age " was coined in the late 19th century CE by the Danish scholar Christian J. Thomsen, who came up with a framework for the study of the human past, known as the "Three Age System". [2]


    From 7000 to 5000 BC, in the equable climates of Turkey and Mesopotamia, tribes that had been nomadic began to settle down in the first villages and raise animals and grow crops for food. [1] Neolithic tools were often elaborately manufactured as in this flint-bladed bone-handled sickle of about 5000 BC (D). [1] Around 5000 BC, South Americans were raising guinea pigs for their meat, and by about 4000 BC, they were keeping llamas too. [5] Then about 5000 BC, South Americans added beans to their squash and corn. [5]


    About 2,000 BC stone age hunters lived in a village at Sara Brae in the Orkney Islands in Scotland. [6] In Egypt, civilization first reached its full development c. 3000 bce, but though it passed through Copper and Bronze ages and introduced copper tools to the Sudan, there is no evidence of either of these ages in the rest of Africa, where a transition from the Stone Age, generally still Mesolithic in type, directly to the Iron Age took place gradually during the last two millennia and in a few places did not take place until the middle of the 20th century. [7] Neolithic Era Timeline Timeline Description: The Neolithic Era, also known as the New Stone Age, was the time after the stone or ice age and before the Copper Age in some areas and the Bronze Age in others. [8] At the beginning of Middle Stone Age times, however, a special development took place known as the Sangoan (formerly Tumbian). [7] The Stellenbosch and Fauresmith together constitute what is called the South African Older Stone Age, a period roughly corresponding to the Lower and Middle Paleolithic stages of Europe. [7] In the final stages of the Middle Stone Age, known as the South African Magosian, microlithic elements appear, just as in the case of East Africa. [7] The South African Middle Stone Age belongs to the later part of the Upper Pleistocene. [7] Even during the Mesolithic Age, or Middle Stone Age, some people continued to hunt and gather, while others began to grow their own food. [9] The Later Stone Age cultures of this region--the Smithfield and the Wilton--developed during post-Pleistocene times. [7] Calling this time period the New Stone Age, however, is somewhat misleading. [9] The Neolithic inventions that led to the rise of man above the conditions of the Old Stone Age were made gradually in different places and probably over a long period. [7] There are many paintings in the rock shelters and engravings on stones in the open-air sites of Southern Africa, the oldest of which belong to the Later Stone Age. [7]

    There was a fairly sharp decline in growth and nutrition during the confusions and experiments of the transformation from hunting to farming, with its many inventions and increasing trade and disease between about 10,000 and 5,000 B.C. Partial recoveries and advances in health occurred during the Bronze Age rise of civilization then real advance (e.g., a 7 to 11-year increase in longevity) occurred with the rise of Hellenic-Roman culture. [10] By about 7000 bc the fluted-point industries were replaced by a succession of lanceolate-point-using phases, which continued the Paleo-Indian hunting tradition, concentrating primarily on large, now-extinct species of bison until the onset of the Altithermal dry period about 5000 bc. [7]

    The Neolithic Era, or the New Stone Age as it is also called, is a period that started in about 9500 BC, in the Middle East, more exactly in the Levant. [11] The Peiligang culture existed from 7000 to 5000 BC along the middle stretch of the Yellow River in today&aposs Henan Province, in central China, and it is the oldest Neolithic culture. [12] That fact both of these massacres - no other word can be applied - fell near the end of the Linear Pottery culture, around 5000 BC, raised the possibility that things ended less than peacefully. [13] While there is certainly evidence of conflict both before (including among the hunter-gatherers that preceded the Neolithic) and after 5000 BC, this usually takes the form of isolated incidents involving relatively few individuals. [13] This was almost certainly a single event, again dating to around 5000 BC. [13]


    Bottom line: A newly-discovered underwater Stone Age site off the coast of Sweden was a fishing lagoon for Mesolithic people. [14] The term Stone Age implies the inability to smelt any ore, the term Bronze Age implies the inability to smelt iron ore and the term Iron Age implies the ability to manufacture artifacts in any of the three types of hard material. [15]

    PALEOLITHIC AGE • Paleolithic or Old Stone Age (Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age) The time between the end of most recent period of glaciation (c. 10000 BC) and the beginnings of agriculture. • Paleolithic art appears to have taken three principal forms: • Portable sculptures of women and animals, • Paintings on the walls and ceiling of caves and • The decoration of artifacts with geometric designs. [16] •In its final stage (c. 5400 - 5000 BC) Hacilar was fortified with a stone wall, which enclosed an area 70 m x 35 m. [16]

    Date: April 4, 2017 Source: Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen Summary: When present day European genetics was formed during the beginning of the Bronze Age 5,000 years ago it was a result of migrating Yamnaya pastoralists from the Caspian steppe encountering Stone Age farmers in northern and eastern Europe. [17] The Mesolithic Period, or Middle Stone Age, is an archaeological term describing specific cultures that fall between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic Periods. [18] The word "Neolithic" is derived from the Greek for "new" ( neo ) and "relating to stone" ( lithic ), and this period is often called the New Stone Age. [19] In our grand synthesis we argue that Yamnaya migrants were predominantly males, who married women who came from neighbouring Stone Age farming societies" These Stone Age Neolithic societies were based on large farming communities reflected in their collective burial ritual often in big stone chambers, so called megaliths. [17] The stone age, like Ceaser's Gaul, is divided into three parts: Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic with further subdivisions. [20] New Stone Age is most frequently used in connection with agriculture which is the time when cereal cultivation and animal domestication was introduced. [16] The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples from south India. [21] Away from the river valleys the transformation was patchier and less pervasive, as Stone Age farming practices did not allow intensive agriculture in any but the most favourable locations. [19]


    A major advance in farming practices occurred in 6000 to 5000 BC, as farmers began to settle the plains of Mesopotamia. [19] These gradually evolved into hand spindles, a process completed by 5000 BC at the earliest (the spinning wheel, a comparatively complex machine, would not appear for thousands of years). [19]

    Human artefacts of this long period of the middle Paleolithic include improved types of stone flake tools. [1] At Habasesti, a site in Romania dating from 3000 BC, edged tools such as axes and hoes are made of stone and sickles are edged with flint. [1] The cave painters made small household objects such as the stone lamps (A) which date from 15,000 BC. The painted pebbles (B) of the Mesolithic Azilian culture date from 10,000 BC and may be toys or magical objects. [1] Few survived until now because of the demand for stone as building material, but a well-preserved one from the first half of 4th millennium BC was found in Wietrzychowice near Włocławek. [3]

    After 5000 BCE new waves of immigrants arrived from the south again, which accelerated the process of differentiation of the agrarian society into several distinct cultures during the first half of 5th millennium BC and afterwards. [3] About 5000 BC-4000 BC people all over the world began to spin and weave clothes out of flax and hemp, cotton and wool. [5] Around 10,000 BC, with the end of the last major Ice Age, people all over the world - not everyone, but a lot of people - began to shift from fishing and hunting and gathering to farming as their main way of getting food. [5] Here between c. 8000 and c. 3000 BC, various peoples enjoyed a culture showing similarities with both Paleolithic and Neolithic. [1] In more backward northern Europe the Neolithic persisted until about 2000 BC. Intermediates were such village cultures as that at Habaseti in Romania. [1] Sometime around 4500 BC, in Europe, the first people evolved who had white skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. [5] By around 8000 BC, South American people in Ecuador and Peru were growing squash and potatoes, and soon after that they were growing chili peppers and corn. [5] By around 4000 BC, people in Sudan, south of Egypt, were growing dates and millet and in Aksum (modern Ethiopia) they were growing another kind of grain, teff. [5] By about 10,000 BC, people in Central Asia and Europe were beginning to keep pigs. [5] By 5500 BC, people in Central Asia had also tamed the wild aurochs and turned them into cattle, which they kept for both meat and milk (and yogurt and cheese ). [5]

    Mesolithic, but from the Maglemosian culture of 8000-5000 BC, are decorative animals carved in amber (C). [1] After the ice: a global human history, 20,000-5000 BC (1st Harvard University Press pbk. ed.). [4] It originated in the Polish lowlands during the first half of 4th millennium BC, lasted to about 2400 BCE in parallel with the Funnelbeaker culture, and is named after the bulging shape of its representative pottery. [3] The agricultural and construction activities of the communities centered on the two large settlements (hunting and fishing were also practiced) caused very likely an accumulation of environmental damage, which eventually forced them to abandon the area. 4th millennium BC constructions reinforced with ditches and palisades and ceramics molded into figural representations of the Lengyel-Polgár culture were located in Podłęże, Wieliczka County. [3]

    The Mesolithic, lasting from 10000 to 7000 BC in the Near East and later in Europe, was a time of great changes. [1] In South-East Asia and southern China, they were keeping chickens by around 7000 BC, and people started to keep sheep in West Asia and Egypt about the same time. [5] Around 7000 BC, people were growing rye for rye bread and planting apple trees in Central Asia. [5]

    A 12,600 BCE Hamburg culture site with tents, camp-fire and stone meat baking devices was discovered in Olbrachcice, Wschowa County. [3] People of these cultures also made simple stone vessels including lamps. [1]

    In the West the Neolithic wanderers left behind many weapons and tools of stone and bone as well as clay vessels and toys. [1] Tools and devices were made of materials such as stone (flint strip mines have been found at the northern edge of Świętokrzyskie Mountains ), bone, wood, horn, or plant material for rope and baskets, and included such fine utensils as fishing hooks and sewing needles. [3] The earliest tools of ancient man were crude stone hand axes some of which (from east Africa) (A) are nearly two million years old. [1] Paleolithic tools, if worked at all, are made of chipped stone. [1]

    Much later, about 50,000 years ago, Neanderthal man made stone hand axes of a more sculptured kind (B). [1] Gatherer-hunter Homo erectus campsites, together with their inhabitants' primitive stone tools ( choppers and microliths ), bones of the large mammals they hunted and the fish they caught, were found below the San River glaciation period sediments in Trzebnica and are about 500,000 years old. [3] Although no stone tools that old have been found, some bones showing signs of striations and gouges have been found in Ethiopia, which might represent cut marks made with stone tools. [2]

    The settlement patterns of people living in Central Europe began changing, as did their stone tools. [22] The reason is that the capacity of tool use and even its manufacture is not exclusive of our species: there are studies indicating that bonobos are capable of flaking and using stone tools in order to gain access to food in an experimental setting. [2]

    The skeletons ranged in age from about 7,500 to 2,500 years old. [22] In Europe a series of ice ages continued until only 10,000 years ago when the ice sheets finally began to retreat northwards. [1] Some scientists have proposed that it spread across the continent following a population boom after the end of the last ice age about 12,000 years ago. [22]

    Holocene Epoch, end of Ice Age, dead were buried Human activity at Randaberg, Norway Suggested earlier date for origin of Sphinx Humans habitate in caves at the Caspian Sea Humans found in caves in England, evidence of major gatherings at Star Carr, North Yorkshire, wheat was grown Azilian people occupied Southern France and Northern Spain. [23] An example is the Near East, where agriculture was developed around 9,000 BCE, right after the end of the Ice Age. [2]

    Towards the end of the Neolithic era, copper metallurgy is introduced, which marks a transition period to the Bronze Age, sometimes referred to as Chalcolithic or Eneolithic era. [2]

    Starting in the Middle East, the Neolithic period starts to move into the Copper Age as copper tools replace stone tools. [8]

    A single series of radiocarbon dates from the Debert site in Nova Scotia places the age of points of similar type at about 8500 to 9000 bc in that area. [7] Modern humans entered Europe about 35,000 BC at a time when the Earth was in the grip of an last ice age (which ended about 8,000 BC). [6] While many believe that they came earlier, we know for certain that these hunters arrived in Japan at least as early as 35,000 BC. While the tools prior to that time are so crude that there is some debate over whether they were made by humans, surviving late Paleolithic artifacts include finely made blade tools similar to groups in Siberia and the rest of Eurasia, and axes made from ground stone. [24] Early Japanese history is traditionally divided into five major eras: the Paleolithic (c. 50,000 BC - c. 12,000BC), Jomon (c.11,000 BC to 300 BC), Yayoi (9,000 BC - 250 AD), Kofun (300 AD - 552 AD) and Yamato Periods (552-710 AD). [24] Flat bottomed pots became common by the so-called Early Jomon period (5,500 BC - 2,500 BC), perhaps indicating that they were now used indoors on packed earthen floors rather than looser ashes or dirt. [24] Thousands of different pots have been found, but the earliest ones (12,000 BC - 5,000 BC) typically had rounded or pointed bottoms so that they could easily be stuck into the ground or in the ashes of a cooking fire. [24] Archeologists have estimated the population of Jomon Japan at between 125,000 and 250,000, with the peak population about 5,000 BC and then declining. [24]

    The ceramics of the Hopewell appear to be based in two major traditions, one derived from northern Asia, which reached eastern North America by about 1000 bc, and the other from Middle America, where the decorative technique of rocker-stamping, characteristic of finer Hopewell pottery, existed several hundred years prior to the earliest appearance of the Hopewell culture. [7] This settlement pattern is typical of most of Middle America after about 850 bc but is not found in North America until the Mississippian culture appears. [7] Earliest evidences for the next cultural advances are apparent by about 800 bc in changes in architecture and settlement pattern in several areas of Middle America and Peru. [7] It appears, however, that corn was first domesticated elsewhere, possibly in the Puebla area of south central Mexico, where a date of 3600 bc is reported from materials associated with early corn in a cave near the town of Tehuacán. [7] At the site of Palli Aike, on the Strait of Magellan, the earliest cultural horizon has yielded a radiocarbon date of about 8000 bc, indicating that man reached the southern extremity of the New World well before 10,000 years ago. [7] Clovis sites have been dated at about 9000 bc by radiocarbon, and Folsom sites at about 500 to 1,000 years later. [7] The distribution of this artifact type with respect to glacial events, however, suggests an appearance as early as 11,000 bc and a terminal date about 3,000 years later. [7]

    In the southwest, the earliest villages of farmers appeared by about 200 bc, and this initial development in southern New Mexico and Arizona was succeeded by a gradual spread of this way of life as far north as southwestern Colorado, east to the Pecos River, and west into the lower valley of the Colorado River. [7] While evidence for architecture is not completely clear, it appears that by about 1500 bc there were small villages of wattle-and-daub huts scattered along the shores of the lakes of the Valley of Mexico, with inhabitants subsisting largely on corn-bean-squash cultivation, supplemented by the meat of game animals and by various aquatic resources. [7] As Japan became hotter (reaching its peak about 3,000 BC), animals such as the wooly mammoth that had traditionally been hunted died out, but fortunately other plants and animals did better, and new, more sophisticated civilization began to emerge. [24] The site of Bat Cave in western New Mexico has produced specimens of a type of primitive corn that is also known from the Flacco phase in Tamaulipas at 2000 bc but that is here in association with a Chiricahua assemblage from which materials have been dated at about 1000 bc. [7] One of the earliest known phases in eastern North America in which corn cultivation appears to have had a role in subsistence is the Adena, which occupied the middle Ohio River Valley by about 800 bc. [7] One striking example, the alleged tomb of Emperor Nintoku (who may have ruled in the early 400's) near modern Osaka, covers over 80 acres and hence -- except for the extraordinary tomb of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty (c. 200 BC) in China -- is bigger than all of the tombs of the world. [24] The technique of making bronze reached central Europe about 2,300 BC. It reached England about 2,000 BC. [6] Present knowledge of the northern coast of Peru does not reveal ceramics before about 1200 bc, indicating an isolation of this area from cultural developments to the north. [7] In the eastern United States, two basic traditions utilizing the woodland areas appear to have grown from an earlier culture that was present in that area by 6000 or 7000 bc. [7] At about 2500 bc a primitive variety of corn (maize) first appeared in the Tamaulipas area in the La Perra phase. [7] By 2500 bc, techniques of cultivation had also reached the northern coast of Peru, where, at such sites as Huaca Prieta at the mouth of the Chicama Valley, there was a mixed dependence upon marine foods such as sea urchins, mollusks, and fish upon wild plants, mostly tubers and roots and upon cultivated plants, including beans, peppers, and a different genus of squash than that cultivated in the early horizons in Tamaulipas. [7] From the Valdivia site in Ecuador, several hundred miles to the north, radiocarbon samples indicate that ceramics may have been present there as early as 2500 bc, and another date from Panama indicates that the ceramics of the Monagrillo phase were manufactured by about 2000 bc. [7]

    "Indeed, by 5000 B.C. there was very little left for later history to do all the groundwork for the modern world had been completed," Stephen Mithen boldly proclaims in his ambitious tome After the Ice: A Global Human History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004 $29.95). [25] Wheat and barley farming moved eastward into India between 8000 and 5000 b.c. [9]

    Few people, however, could afford bronze and continued to use tools and weapons made of stone. [9] Some of the tools that are used during this time are sickles or curved cutting knives made of flint, and axes and hammers made of polished stone. [8] The polishing of stone implements was probably a by-product of the grinding of red ochre, in wide demand for its magic properties since the Paleolithic and extensively used in Africa in the Mesolithic and later. [7] By later Jomon, large stone jars were made, perhaps for infant burial and religious offerings, while carved stone and clay figures known as dogu became increasingly elaborate. [24]

    People stopped living in tents made from animal skins and they began to live in huts made from stone or wattle and daub with thatched roofs. [6] Furthermore the bronze age people continued to build megalithic (large stone) monuments. [6]

    Judging from implements found in the area, cultivation was done with stone reapers, wooden rakes and hoes. [24] It differs from preceding Paleo-Indian horizons in its orientation toward a broad range of resources, including plant foods, as evidenced by the frequent use of milling stones. [7] The Paleolithic was everywhere followed by the Mesolithic, a period when man continued to use stone tools, mostly microlithic, and, while still in the hunting-and-gathering stage, depended less for his food supply on large mammals than on fish and mollusks. [7]

    Arrows were mostly armed with stone lunates, and in general the microlithic industry shows relations with the Capsian (of northwestern Africa) and the Wilton (of east central Africa). [7] The most extensive knowledge of this way of life comes from cave or rock-shelter sites, such as Danger Cave in western Utah, in which the desiccated remains of vegetal and animal materials have been discovered along with stone tools. [7] At no site in this early context are there any types of implements distinctive enough to be recognized in a context of crudely chipped stone tools from later horizons. [7]

    From some of the later time periods involved where civilizations were on the rise and fall, it appears that social factors have the biggest impact on longevity, particularly since longevity never rose above about age 45 for long, often falling below that figure for centuries at a time, until the 1900s, since which time it has almost doubled. [10] There is evidence in the New World for plant domestication comparable in age to that of the Old World, but for many years this was unattended by the development of village life that closely followed domestication there. [7] During the Neolithic Age, people settled in villages where they built permanent homes. [9] After the end of the ice age people in Europe hunted red deer, boar and rabbits. [6] Ice age humans lived in caves some of the time but they also made tents from mammoth skins. [6] About 20,000 years ago, the world's fourth (and most recent) ice age ended. [24]

    In the Western Hemisphere, between 7000 and 5000 b.c., people in Mexico and Central America were growing corn, squash, and potatoes. [9]

    The Lund University scientists believe the location was a lagoon environment where Mesolithic people (culture in northwest Europe from about 10,000 to 5,000 BC) lived during parts of the year. [14] The Yangshao culture refers to a Neolithic community found along the middle stretch of the Yellow River from Gansu Province to Hainan Province, which existed from 5000 to 3000 BC. [12] The Longshan culture existed from 5000 to 4000 BC and featured advanced technology in the arts of making delicate black pottery. [12]

    According to Parpola, ceramic similarities between the Indus Civilization, southern Turkmenistan, and northern Iran during 43003300 BC of the Chalcolithic period (Copper Age) suggest considerable mobility and trade. [15] The transition from the European Copper Age to Bronze Age Europe occurs about the same time, between the late 5th and the late 3rd millennia BC. [15] The Bronze Age dates back from the 21st century BC to the 5th century BC, from which Chinese civilization starts, and it ranged from the Xia Dynasty (2070 BC-1600 BC) to the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC) and to the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-221 BC). [12] The Copper Age in the Middle East and the Caucasus began in the late 5th millennium BC and lasted for about a millennium before it gave rise to the Early Bronze Age. [15]

    The Bronze culture reached its peak time in the Zhou Dynasty (1046 BC-221 BC), and a large number of bronze wares have been unearthed by archeologists, on which inscriptions were carved. [12] The Linear Pottery ( Linienbandkeramik, or LBK) culture which dominated central Europe between 5600 and 4900 BC was once depicted as peaceful and pioneering - farmers who cleared land and carved new communities out of the heavily-forested "wilderness". [13] The farming communities spread eventually to Asia Minor, North Africa and North Mesopotamia, and arrived in Europe in about 8000-6000 BC. One thing is sure though, by 6000-5000 BC most of Europe was into the Neolithic lifestyle. [11] Choirokoitia is a Neolithic site that dates from around 6800 BC and is considered to be one of the earliest permanent human settlements in Cyprus. [11] The exhibition displays from ceramic knives and bone spoons to pottery vessels, religious figures and even a musical instrument which dates from the 5th millennium BC. Most statuettes displayed here are zoomorphic and anthropomorphic and illustrate animals and humans. [11]

    More than 5000 years ago the people who used to live on the beautiful Orkney Islands began the construction of amazing stone monuments. [11] There are areas, such as the islands of the South Pacific, the interior of Africa, and parts of North and South America, where peoples have passed directly from the use of stone to the use of iron without the intervention of an age of bronze. [15] When the chipped stone implements were replaced by polished stone implements, the level of the productive force was remarkably improved during the Paleolithic Age. [12]

    The Paleolithic Age dates back from 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, during which the matriarchal clan society was formed, a social system in which the mother was head of the family and descent was traced through the mother&aposs side of the family. [12] The mankind of the Paleolithic Age is represented by &aposHetao Man&apos who lived about 500,000 to 350,000 years ago, the fossils of which were dug up in North China&aposs Inner Mongolia, &aposLiujiang Man&apos, whose fossils were discovered in Liuzhou, two hours away from Guilin, in South China&aposs Guangxi Province, &aposZhiyu Man&apos, and cavemen who lived about 300,000 years ago in caves, hence the name. [12] These were represented by &aposYuanmou Man&apos who lived 1.7 million years ago in today&aposs Yunnan Province, south-west China, &aposLantian Man&apos who lived in the early Paleolithic Age, fossils of which were discovered in North China&aposs Shaanxi Province, and &aposPeking Man&apos who lived about 500,000 years ago. [12]

    The literature of European archaeology, in general, avoids the use of chalcolithic (the term Copper Age is preferred), whereas Middle Eastern archaeologists regularly use it. [15] The early period of the age is characterized by the widespread use of iron or steel. [15]

    The prehistoric age was a time when the early humans learned how to make fire. [15] If you’re passionate about ruins, it’s impossible not to be fascinated about the ages when the human race was making some of the important steps in its development. [11]

    The Iron Age as an archaeological term indicates the condition as to civilization and culture of a people using iron as the material for their cutting tools and weapons. [15] Beginning with the rise of farming, which produced the "Neolithic Revolution", and ending when metal tools became widespread in the Copper Age (chalcolithic) or Bronze Age or developing directly into the Iron Age, depending on the geographical region. [15] The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. [15] During the past few centuries of detailed, scientific study of the Bronze Age, it has become clear that on the whole, the use of copper or bronze was only the most stable and therefore the most diagnostic part of a cluster of features marking the period. [15] The Iron Age is the archaeological period generally occurring after the Bronze Age, marked by the prevalent use of iron. [15] The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age system as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen for classifying and studying ancient societies. [15]

    This is the time period when many tools and weapons were made of stone, such as spears. [15] The people used stone sickles, shovels and knives as their main agricultural tools, and made pottery by hand. [12] The ape men widely used chipped stone implements and lived a gathering and hunting lifestyle according to archaeological evidence they even mastered how to use fire to improve their living environment. [12] This is when copper became widely used, in most cases, instead of stone. [15] This UNESCO site is home to four separate historic areas: Skara Brae, which we’ve mentioned above, the Ring of Brodgar, Maeshowe and Stones of Stennes. [11]

    The Paleolithic is characterized by the use of knapped stone tools, although at the time humans also used wood and bone tools. [15]

    The level of productive force in the Neolithic Age was much more advanced than the previous times, which was reflected in the development of agricultural production, the expansion of stock farming, the emergence of ceramics and silk products, and the formation of social divisions of labor. [12] A difference between some of the Bronze Age cultures was the development of the first writings. [15] A region could be in the Bronze Age either by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. [15] The boundary between the Copper and Bronze Ages is indistinct, since alloys sputtered in and out of use due to the erratic supply of tin. [15]

    The bronze and Iron age came about when tin and copper were mixed to accidentally produce the metal bronze, and also iron ore was made into iron weapons. [15] The beginning of the Iron Age in Europe and adjacent areas is characterized by certain forms of implements, weapons, personal ornaments, and pottery, and also by systems of decorative design, which are altogether different from those of the preceding age of bronze. [15] The archaeological complex includes a cathedral that dates from the Viking era, a beautiful mansion and the site of an Iron Age village. [11] The Neolithic Age dates back from 18,000 to 4,000 years ago, during which the patriarchal clan society, a social system in which males were the primary authority figures and were central to social organization, was formed. [12]

    RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(25 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


    Oldest Stone Tools Outside Africa Unearthed in China

    Throughout the 20th century, the widely accepted story of humanity’s migration from Africa began with a human ancestor called Homo erectus, a relatively big-brained, tall species of hominin that began to venture all across Asia more than a million years ago. But in recent decades, new evidence has begun to punch holes in that timeline. Now, reports Carl Zimmer at The New York Times, new stone tools unearthed in China indicate someone made it 8,000 miles from Africa to east Asia as far back as 2.12 million years ago, and that someone probably wasn’t Homo erectus.

    Zimmer reports that back in 1964, researchers found the skull of a Homo erectus in the Lantian area of the Shaanxi province, which at the time they placed at around 1.15 million years. When researchers revisited the Lantian site in the early 2000s, however, they determined that the layer the skull came from was older—about 1.63 million years old. They also noticed what appeared to be stone tools embedded 200 feet up in a cliff face.

    That observation led to 13 years of painstaking excavations. During that time, the team found that various human ancestors occupied the site in Shangchen’s southern Chinese Loess Plateau between 1.26 and 2.12 million years ago. According to their study, published in the journal Nature, the researchers uncovered 80 stone artifacts found in 11 layers of soil deposited when the climate was warm and wet. They also uncovered 16 artifacts in six layers that date to a time when the climate conditions were colder and drier.

    Most importantly, they were able to date the layers of soil using a technique called paleomagnetism by looking at certain minerals which align with the Earth’s magnetic field, which occasionally flip flops. The oldest artifacts were found in a layer sandwiched between rock formed 2.14 million years ago and 1.85 million years ago. Based on their position, the researchers estimate six of the tools are 2.12 million years old, making them the oldest stone tools found outside Africa.

    The finding doesn’t necessarily indicate that it was Homo erectus which made it to China faster than previously thought. It’s believed Homo erectus hadn’t even evolved by this point, so the artifacts could suggest that a whole other species of hominins expanded east to Asia.

    “The implications of all this are large,” Michael Petraglia, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute not involved in the study, tells Zimmer. “We must re-evaluate our understanding of human prehistory in Eurasia.”

    So if it wasn’t Homo erectus, who was living in China so long ago? A trove of fossils unearthed in Dmanisi, Georgia, which was the previous oldest hominin site outside of Africa, may shed some light. It included stone tools and, more importantly, part of a skull from a relatively small-brained, short hominin. It’s possible that this species or one like it expanded across Eurasia first.

    Then again, perhaps we don't have the dates for Homo erectus nailed yet. “It is entirely possible that Homo erectus occupied China at this time, but given the age of the site, and the possibility that artifacts may be found at even earlier ages, another member of the genus Homo may be occupying Asia, such as a Homo habilis-like ancestor,” Petraglia tells Michael Greshko at National Geographic.

    Rick Potts, the head of the Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program, agrees, telling Zimmer that he believes that some Homo erectus-like fossils older than 2.1 million years old may still be found in Africa, making it plausible that a larger human-like hominin made the artifacts found in Lantian.

    Just because this species made it out of Africa, however, doesn’t mean that they are somehow the ancestor of modern humans. There were likely many species or populations of hominins that left Africa, only to die out somewhere in their journey across the globe. “Some populations got all the way over to eastern Asia, but we have to imagine that these were small, sort of hunting-and-gathering populations,” Petraglia tells Robinson Meyer at the Atlantic. “And while they may have mated across East Asia, it doesn’t mean they survived for a long period of time. Some populations might have become isolated, and some might have become extinct.”

    Some might have even gone on to develop into other species, like the Indonesian Homo floresiensis (dubbed the “hobbits” by the media) who may have evolved much earlier than first thought, according to recent research.

    It’s unlikely this will be the only discovery about early humans to come out of China. While most paleoanthropologists have spent most of their time and resources searching for hominins in Africa, an increase in fieldwork in China and the rest of Asia is sure to dig up a few more surprises about our increasingly complex human family tree.

    About Jason Daley

    Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer specializing in natural history, science, travel, and the environment. His work has appeared in Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other magazines.


    9. Latin (≈ 700 BC)

    The oldest found example of ancient Latin – the Praeneste Fibula.

    I believe it would be a mistake to consider that Latin originates from around 700 BC but this is about the age of the oldest written artifact found in Latin.

    Having that the Romans spoke Latin from the founding days of Rome in 753 and it is also believed that the language already existed in the region before them, we can generally consider Latin a significantly older language.

    Latin may be considered dead as a spoken language but it remains extremely important for scientific purposes in our modern-day world. People study it extensively in medicine, for example.


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    The haul of items found at the site also includes ancient pollen, wood, leaves and hazelnuts to signs of burnt seeds.

    A pointy shard of stone which may be the tip of an arrow head, was also unearthed.

    All items will go on display at local venues to raise awareness and support of the £100million construction project.

    Oxford Archaeology was conducting pre-construction ground investigations for the project last year when it uncovered the prehistoric leaf.

    Tools found at the site include worked flint and chert blades (left), stone tools of either Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (pre 3800 BC) or Neolithic first farmers (after about 3800 BC). The two grey pieces on the right are fragments of a Neolithic polished stone axe

    Rare pottery and tool fragments sieved from the site including (on the left) parts of a Carinated Bowl, the first type of pottery to be used in UK, when farming arrived c3800 BC. On the right, from the same site, are some ancient twigs and hazelnuts

    Lead archaeologist Fraser Brown said the finds were of national significance with no precedent for such finds in the area.

    The coastal region is today boggy and Windy Harbour, at the eastern end of the planned bypass, is more than six miles from the sea.

    But this patch of land may have been underwater when the leaf first fell to Earth.

    This region may well have been fished by hunter gatherers and then, as the land emerged from the sea, settled by early farmers.,

    Mr Brown said: 'We have found extensive deposits of peat and marine clays which have helped preserve ancient plant remains and which yield information on the local vegetation, water, climate, and human activity.

    'We've also found pottery, stone tools and charred remains providing direct evidence for Mesolithic hunter-gatherers foraging, and possibly camping, at the water's edge and later on, Neolithic and Bronze Age farmers living on the fringes of a salt marsh.'

    Highways England revealed the three-mile A585 dual carriageway will take traffic around Little Singleton. The project is also designed to improve the junctions at Windy Harbour and Skippool

    HOW DID PEOPLE LIVE DURING THE MESOLITHIC PERIOD?

    The Mesolithic period, also called Middle Stone Age, is an ancient time period (8000 BC to AD 2700) that took place between the Paleolithic Period (Old Stone Age) with its chipped stone tools, and the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age) with its polished stone tools.

    The Mesolithic period's material culture is characterized by greater innovation than the Paleolithic.

    Among the new types of chipped stone tools were microliths: very small stone tools intended for mounting together on a shaft in order to produce a serrated edge. Polished stone was another innovation that arose in some Mesolithic groups.

    Northern European Mesolithic people (called Maglemosian's), who flourished at about 6000 BC, left behind traces of primitive huts with bark-covered floors and adzes for working wood.

    At Starr Carr in Yorkshire, there are signs that four or five huts existed there, with a population of around 25 people. There is evidence that these sites may only have been occupied on a seasonal basis.

    An artist's impression of tribes fishing during the Mesolithic period

    Aracheologists have also found smaller flint tools from this group. These were mounted as points or barbs for arrows and harpoons and were also used in other composite tools.

    They used adzes and chisels made of antler or bone, as well as needles and pins, fish-hooks, harpoons and fish spears with several prongs. Some larger tools made of ground stone, such as club heads, have also been found.

    Wooden structures have also been found and have remained well-preserved due to the preservative qualities of bogs. Some of the structures discovered include ax handles, paddles and a dugout canoe, and fishnets were made using bark fibre.

    Deer were hunted as well as fish and waterfowl, and some varieties of marsh plants may have been used.


    Watch the video: 7,200-Year-Old Skeleton Offers Clues to Early Human Migration