Ancient Tools



Language and Tool-Making Skills Evolved at the Same Time   Live Science - September 3, 2013
Research by the University of Liverpool has found that the same brain activity is used for language production and making complex tools, supporting the theory that they evolved at the same time. Language and stone tool-making are considered to be unique features of humankind that evolved over millions of years.


Handaxe Design Reveals Distinct Neanderthal Cultures   Science Daily - August 19, 2013

A study by a postgraduate researcher at the University of Southampton has found that Neanderthals were more culturally complex than previously acknowledged. Two cultural traditions existed among Neanderthals living in what is now northern Europe between 115,000 to 35,000 years ago. for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) examined the design of 1,300 stone tools originating from 80 Neanderthal sites in five European countries; France, Germany, Belgium, Britain and the Netherlands. Dr Ruebens' investigations uncovered new evidence that two separate handaxe traditions or designs existed -- one in a region now spanning south-western France and Britain -- the other in Germany and further to the East. In addition, she found an area covering modern day Belgium and the Netherlands that demonstrates a transition between the two.


Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Human Ancestors Hunting and Scavenging   Science Daily - May 13, 2013
A recent Baylor University research study has shed new light on the diet and food acquisition strategies of some the earliest human ancestors in Africa. Beginning around two million years ago, early stone tool-making humans, known scientifically as Oldowan hominin, started to exhibit a number of physiological and ecological adaptations that required greater daily energy expenditures, including an increase in brain and body size, heavier investment in their offspring and significant home-range expansion. Demonstrating how these early humans acquired


Did Rise of Ancient Human Ancestor Lead to New Stone Tools?   Live Science - January 28, 2013
Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago. The tools roughly coincided with the emergence of an ancient human ancestor called Homo erectus, and fossilized H. erectus remains were also found at the same site, said study author Yonas Beyene, an archaeologist at the Association for Research and Conservation of Culture in Ethiopia. Collectively, the finding suggests an ancient tool-making technique may have arisen with the evolution of the new species.


Complex Tool Discovery Argues for Early Human Smarts   Live Science - November 7, 2012

Rocks carved into ancient stone arrowheads or into lethal tools for hurling spears suggest humans innovated relatively advanced weapons much earlier than thought, researchers in South Africa say. The researchers' finds, partially exposed by a coastal storm, suggest ancient peoples were capable of complex forms of thinking, scientists added. Modern humans originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago, but when modern human ways of thinking emerged remains controversial. For instance, some researchers note that the first signs of complex thought such as art appeared relatively late in history, suggesting that genetic mutations linked with modern human behavior occurred as recently as 40,000 years ago. Other scientists argue that modern human thought originated much earlier but that the evidence was largely lost to the rigors of time.


'Earliest' evidence of modern human culture found   BBC - August1, 2012
The earliest unambiguous evidence for modern human behavior has been discovered by an international team of researchers in a South African cave. The finds provide early evidence for the origin of modern human behavior 44,000 years ago, over 20,000 years before other findings. The artifacts are near identical to modern-day tools of the indigenous African San bush people.


Oldest Poison Pushes Back Ancient Civilization 20,000 Years   Live Science - July 30, 2012

The late Stone Age may have had an earlier start in Africa than previously thought - by some 20,000 years. 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.

Later Stone Age Got Earlier Start in South Africa Than Thought   Science Daily - July 30, 2012
The Later Stone Age emerged in South Africa more than 20,000 years earlier than previously believed - about the same time humans were migrating from Africa to the European continent, says a new international study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. The study shows the onset of the Later Stone Age in South Africa likely began some 44,000 to 42,000 years ago, said Paola Villa, a curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History and lead study author. The new dates are based on the use of precisely calibrated radiocarbon dates linked to organic artifacts found at Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the border of South Africa and Swaziland containing evidence of hominid occupation going back 200,000 years.


Oregon stone tools enliven 'earliest Americans' debate   BBC - July 13, 2012
Scientists studying how North America was first settled have found stone spearheads and darts in Oregon, US, that date back more than 13,000 years. The hunting implements, which are of the "Western Stemmed" tradition, are at least as old as the famous Clovis tools thought for a long time to belong to the continent's earliest inhabitants. Precise carbon dating of dried human feces discovered alongside the stone specimens tied down their antiquity.


Exciting stone tool find in Kenya   BBC - September 1, 2011
The world's earliest sophisticated stone tools have been found near Lake Turkana in northwest Kenya. The teardrop-shaped hand-axes date to about 1.76 million years ago, and would have been used for a range of tasks from chopping wood to cutting up meat. They would have been so useful in fact that scientists describe them as the "Swiss army knife" of the Stone Age.


Ancient Toolmakers Plied Craft Near Niagara Falls   Live Science - June 16, 2011
An ancient campsite where people were manufacturing tools has been discovered near the Niagara Falls. This find, combined with other archaeological discoveries in the area over the past few decades, suggests that such campsites lined the Niagara River as far back as 4,000 years ago. So far, the team has unearthed more than 20,000 artifacts, mostly bits of rock broken off when people were creating stone tools, on the southeastern tip of Grand Island New York, about 12 miles (20 km) upstream from Niagara Falls. The earliest artifacts at the site date back at least 4,000 years, opening a window on a time when people were living a nomadic lifestyle based on hunting, fishing and gathering plants. =


Stone tools 'demand new American story'   BBC - March 25, 2011
The long-held theory of how humans first populated the Americas may have been well and truly broken. Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of stone tools that predate the technology widely assumed to have been carried by the first settlers. The discoveries in Texas are seen as compelling evidence that the so-called Clovis culture does not represent America's original immigrants. Details of the 15,500-year-old finds are reported in Science magazine.


Island tool finds show early settlers' diversity   BBC - March 4, 2011
Caches of tools and animal remains from around 12,000 years ago, found on islands off the California coast, have given remarkable insight into the lives of the first Americans. The finds show fine tool technology and a rich maritime economy existed there. The tools vary markedly from mainland cultures of the era such as the Clovis.


Cretan tools point to 130,000-year-old sea travel   PhysOrg - January 3, 2011
Greece's culture ministry says archaeologists on the island of Crete have discovered what may be evidence of one of the world's earliest sea voyages by humans.A ministry statement says archaeologists from Greece and the U.S. have found rough axes and other tools thought to be between 130,000 and 700,000 years old in shelters on the island's south coast.


Lucy the Butcher? Tool Use Pushed Back 800,000 Years   National Geographic - August 12, 2010
Early human ancestors may have been using tools about 800,000 years earlier than thought, according to a new study based on newfound bone evidence - prehistoric leftovers linked to the famed "Lucy" fossil's species. The discovery suggests, to at least one scientist, that tool use may extend as far back as five million years ago, to the last common ancestor of chimps and humans.


Tool-making and meat-eating began 3.5 million years ago   BBC - August 11, 2010

Researchers have found evidence that hominins - early human ancestors - used stone tools to cleave meat from animal bones more than 3.2 million years ago. That pushes back the earliest known tool use and meat-eating in such hominins by more than 800,000 years.


Discovery Pushes Human Tool Use Back 800,000 Years   Live Science - August 11, 2010
The timeline of early human evolution needs another revision with the discovery that human ancestors used tools 800,000 years earlier than previously realized. The finding in Ethiopia, a pair of mammalian fossil bones marred by tool marks, pushes tool use back into the age of Australopithecus afarensis, an early human ancestor that lived in east Africa 3 million to 4 million years ago. Archaeologists previously believed that early human ancestors, or hominins, started using tools 2.5 million years ago. That's when evidence shows one of the first Homo species, Homo habilis, began butchering meat with sharpened stones. (Our species, Homo sapiens, didn't show up until about 200,000 years ago.) But the new find is approximately 3.39 million years old, older than the famous Australopithecus fossil "Lucy," who lived near the find site 3.2 million years ago.


Ancient artifacts revealed as northern ice patches melt   PhysOrg - April 26, 2010
High in the Mackenzie Mountains, scientists are finding a treasure trove of ancient hunting tools being revealed as warming temperatures melt patches of ice that have been in place for thousands of years.


Giant stone-age axes found in African lake basin   PhysOrg - September 10, 2009

Four giant stone hand axes were recovered from the the dry basin of Lake Makgadikgadi in the Kalahari Desert.


Hand axes in Europe nearly a million years old: study   PhysOrg - September 3, 2009
Early humans used two-sided stone axes in Europe up to 900,000 years ago, far earlier than previously thought, according to a study released Wednesday.


Prehistoric tools discovered at Isles of Shoals   PhysOrg - August 27, 2009
Summer students in Cornell's new Archaeology Field School at Shoals Marine Laboratory, Cornell's marine field station, have discovered the first prehistoric archaeological site in the Isles of Shoals, six miles off the Maine and New Hampshire coast.


Ancient Weapons Point to First Use of Fire for Tools?   National Geographic - August 14, 2009
With the tell-tale sheen of heat-treated rock, a 72,000-year-old cache of stone weapons found in Africa suggests humans began using fire to create tools nearly 50,000 years earlier than previously thought, a new study says. Scientists had thought people began manipulating fire to create tools in Europe about 25,000 years ago.


Early toolmakers were 'engineers'   BBC - August 14, 2009
Early modern humans in South Africa were using "heat treatment" to improve their stone tools about 72,000 years ago, according to new research. This technique may bridge a gap between the use of fire to cook food 800,000 years ago and the production of ceramics 10,000 years ago. Evidence for this innovation was found at Pinnacle Point, a Middle Stone Age site on the South African coast.


Ancient Bone Tool Sheds Light On Prehistoric Midwest Science Daily - October 22, 2008

A prehistoric bone tool discovered by University of Indianapolis archeologists is the oldest such artifact ever documented in Indiana, the researchers say. Radiocarbon dating shows that the tool an awl fashioned from the leg bone of a white tail deer, with one end ground to a point - is 10,400 years old. The find supports the growing notion that, in the wake of the most recent Ice Age, the first Hoosiers migrated northward earlier than previously thought. Sites from the Paleoindian and Early Archaic eras are more common in surrounding states such as Illinois and Ohio, which were not as heavily glaciated as Indiana.


Stone Age Hand Axes Found at Bottom of North Sea National Geographic - March 17, 2008

An amateur archaeologist has found an unprecedented collection of Stone Age hand axes among material collected at the bottom of the North Sea. Jan Meulmeester of the Netherlands found 28 axes, possibly up to 100,000 years old, in marine sand and gravel scooped up by a British construction materials supplier.


Stone "Tools" Found; May Be Among America's Oldest National Geographic - February 15, 2007

Crude stone "tools" found in northern Minnesota may be at least 13,000 years old, a team of archaeologists recently announced. The discovery, if confirmed, would put the objects among the oldest human artifacts ever found in the Americas. The team found about 50 such objects during a routine survey for road construction in the town of Walker, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Park Rapids. The finds include what appear to be a large hammerstone, beveled scrapers, rudimentary choppers, a crude knife, and numerous flakes that could have been used for cutting


Front garden yields ancient tools BBC - June 20, 2006

It comes in the form of giant flint handaxes that have been unearthed at a site at Cuxton in Kent. The Britons of 250,000 years ago were a good deal more sophisticated than they are sometimes given credit for, new archaeological evidence suggests. It comes in the form of giant flint handaxes that have been unearthed at a site at Cuxton in Kent. The tools display exquisite, almost flamboyant, workmanship not associated with this period until now. The axes - one of which measured 307mm (1ft) in length - were dug up from old sand deposits in a front garden.


Iron Age tool marks move to steel BBC - May 12, 2004

A tiny Iron Age tool found in Holland is one of the oldest objects unearthed in Europe made from the alloy steel. The 6cm-long punch has a carbon content (2%) rarely seen in iron-based objects from the region at the time. The 4th Century AD tool, which may have been used as a nail, was probably made using the process of furnace smelting. The discovery, which occurred at the site of Heeten, is reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science by Evelyne Godfrey and Matthijs van Nie.


9,000-year-old artifacts uncovered January 8, 2003 - BBC

Hunting tools believed to be 9,000 years old have been uncovered during a road development in County Antrim. Blades and pottery unearthed during work on the new Toome Bypass reveal invaluable information about the lives of ancient peoples, according to archaeologists who have examined the artefacts. The finds are the most significant discovery in the province since a 4,000-year-old grave was discovered during an excavation in the ruins of Newtownstewart Castle in County Tyrone in 1999.




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