Google+

South Africa Cave Yields Artifacts Much Like Those Used In Region Today

People living in a South African cave 44,000 years ago crafted the same kinds of blades, beads and tools as hunter-gatherers of the region today. The artifacts push the history of modern human behavior in southern Africa back more than 20,000 years, archaeologists report online July 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forging a link between the cultures of ancient and present-day humans.

“We’re not just looking at people who were modern. We’re looking at people who were modern in a way that we know,” says study coauthor Francesco d’Errico of the University of Bourdeaux in Talence, France.

Many of the artifacts from South Africa’s Border Cave represent tools and technologies identical to those used by the San hunter-gatherers of southern Africa today.

Using radiocarbon dating, researchers pinpointed the ages of wooden digging sticks, ostrich shell beads, bone awls and stone flakes that may have been part of a sophisticated hunter-gatherer tool kit cum jewelry box.

The collection is characteristic of the Later Stone Age, a time period many archaeologists believed began in southern Africa about 20,000 years ago. But the new radiocarbon dates show the Later Stone Age actually emerged between 44,000 and 42,000 years ago, says study author Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in Boulder. The new dating aligns South Africa’s Later Stone Age with Europe’s Upper Paleolithic — a time also known for cultural and technological innovations.

Archeologists have previously dug up hunter-gatherer artifacts in southern Africa that date back as far as 75,000 years ago. But the artifacts’ link to present-day people is unclear; they may be leftovers from cultural experiments that didn’t stick, d’Errico says. Scientists can link more recent artifacts — from 20,000 years ago — to today’s hunter-gatherers, but gaps in the archaeological record between the two time periods present “one of the enigmas of southern African archeology,” says Christopher Henshilwood, an archaeologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The new findings help close the gap, he says. “It gives us a much better view of what happened during this time period.”

Archeologists discovered the collection in South Africa’s Border Cave decades ago, perfectly preserved in layers of powdery sediments and ash. But the new work has zoomed in for a close-up look at each artifact. And it’s the details — such as traces of poison, slivers of string, or specks of gummy resin — that help reveal clues about culture, d’Errico says. 

D’Errico and colleagues spotted microscopic smudges of dark orange residue at the tip of a thin wooden stick. In another artifact — a lump of mysterious material — they saw fiber-filled grooves. Chemical analysis revealed the orange residue was likely poison made from castor beans; the lump was beeswax wrapped in twine and laced with poison.

The beeswax had the utility of a Swiss army knife, d’Errico says. Stone Age MacGyvers could use the wax to stick poison to an arrow’s bone tip, or to carry extra twine for hafting arrowheads to shafts. The handy tool dates to 40,000 years ago, and is the oldest evidence for the use of beeswax.

The complex hunter-gatherer tool kit also included flakes of stone “about the size of your fingernail,” says Villa. Her team sorted through thousands of stones from the cave’s sedimentary layers, and analyzed bits of brown residue that still clung to some of the flakes. The residue — sticky pitch made from tree bark — glued handles to stones, says Villa. The small stones, or microliths, were buried in the same layer as the beeswax, marking a gradual shift away from the types of tools used in earlier times.
Source:  Science News /  Meghan Rosen  / Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lucinda Blackwell

Entertainment

Top Ten DVD List for June 27, 2017

  This Week’s DVD Releases by Kam Williams Top Ten DVD List for June 27, 2017               The Lodger [Alfred Hitchcock Silent Film] https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XP1WFQF/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 Trespass [25th Anniversary Collector's Edition] https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XHR8T93//ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20 Money [Heist Gone Bad Crime … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Gil’s Goodwill!

  Gil Robertson The “Book of Black Heroes” Interview with Kam Williams Gil's Goodwill! For nearly three decades, writer/author Gil L. Robertson, IV has used the written word to enlighten, empower and uplift. The one-time political organizer initially made his mark in entertainment journalism, penning over 50 national magazine covers and contributing bylines to a wide range of publications that include the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate

  How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate by Amy Lignor   You want to buy that new house because the twins are on their way. Little Betty and Little John are already there, but who knew you would have even more so soon? What’s that? Oh…well, of course, in order to buy that new home with four bedrooms instead of two, you will also need to sell your present homestead in order to get the money needed to start paying on a new one. And, of … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Ejogo’s Largo!

    Carmen Ejogo The “It Comes at Night” Interview with Kam Williams Ejogo's Largo! Carmen Ejogo has established a distinguished career in both feature films and television. She is best known thus far for her leading role of civil rights activist ‘Coretta Scott King’ opposite David Oyelowo in Ava DuVernay's universally acclaimed SELMA as well as being singled out for her ‘mind-blowing’ lead role as Sister in SPARKLE alongside … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Fishing for swordfish in Louisiana? You bet

  Fishing for swordfish in Louisiana? You bet by Craig Lamb The Mississippi River delta and surrounding offshore waters are without a doubt some of the richest fishing waters in the world. Venice, Louisiana, is the hub for reaching the richest saltwater game fish waters in the U.S. Yellowfin tuna. Snapper. Grouper. Wahoo. Dolphin. Marlin. And lately, there are swordfish. If you want to experience the latest hot trend in Louisiana … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic

  You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic by Amy Lignor   No, the sport is not called ‘Zorba’, but it most definitely fits for this article’s title. This most unusual sport is actually called ‘Zorbing’, and has caught on like wildfire across the globe. And now, seeing as that the NBA has wrapped, with Golden State proving that they were determined to make amends for last season; and with the NHL closing up shop for the season … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects

  Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects by Amy Lignor   There are a whole list of summer activities for you and the kids planned. Most of them, of course, you want to be nothing but fun, such as grilling outside on the patio or swimming in the pool. However, having the backyard pool and patio are two things you really need in place before either of those activities could be enjoyed. And building this area could be a great … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

    Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All by Amy Lignor   It is a fact that the largest travel locations are also beyond popular. Among the downsides of this fact is that when you’re looking for peace, quiet, and basically a chance to do nothing more than spend time with yourself and, perhaps, one other best friend, the most popular places don’t offer that. In other words, it is the most remote (sometimes most … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden

  Creating the Perfect Vegetable Garden by Amy Lignor   Many are still dealing with that wintery mix Mother Nature just loves to toss down from the sky this time of year. Yet, that gardener living inside the soul – the one just dreaming of the sunny skies and lazy rainy days that are must-haves in order to grow the best vegetables possible – is already jotting down the facts, tricks and tips they need to know in order to make that … [Read More its Good for You...]