200,000-Year-Old Factory Found
Modern mass production is considered one of the hallmarks of the industrial age—a sure sign of advanced society. Until recently, the basics of such technology were thought to be no older than about 40,000 years and to be the exclusive domain of modern humans. But, as in almost every area of human development, we now learn that we must push our concept of their beginnings back much, much further into the very distant past. Now archaeologists in Israel have discovered evidence of a sophisticated and thriving, tool-making, mass “production line” 200,000 to 400,000 years ago.
In a spot known as Qesem Cave in the Samarian foothills near Tel Aviv, have been found large numbers of high-quality blades, for butchering and other purposes, made from flint. The site included arrangements for feeding and housing its workers. The choice of raw material was careful and consistent. The production technique was highly skilled, yielding blades with one sharp and one dull edge suitable for easy handling. The product rivaled similar blades not found for another hundred thousand years.
Prof. Avi Gopher, Dr. Ran Barkai, and Dr. Ron Shimelmitz of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations described their findings in a recent article for the Journal of Human Evolution. The blade making was the work of the Amudian people in the Acheulo-Yabrudian area, a small regional group of hominins who lived in part of what is now Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
Bigfoot Trail Gets Warm in Siberia?
New sightings of the Yeti (a.k.a. Abominable Snowman, also Bigfoot) have been reported in Russia. In fact, an international team including American and Russian researchers reported in October that they had found unusual footprints in the snow and were hot on the trail of a large, hairy creature fitting the usual description of the Yeti. The search was reportedly being led by the International Center of Hominology in Tashtagol.
The news comes from the Kemerova region of Siberia, where one 82-year-old woman says she saw the approximately seven-foot, human-like beast frightening her dogs.
A previous expedition engaged the services of Russian heavyweight boxing champion Nikola Valuyev (affectionately known as “The Beast from the East”). Though, so far, no new and hairy challengers to his title have emerged, the entire affair has been declared good for tourism, if not for manly or beastly combat.
Just Another Residential Development?
The arguments over Göbekli Tepe rage on. The latest round is over whether the spot served as a temple (the original Garden of Eden, it has been speculated) or was simply, some kind of urban housing development. The ancient site near Urfa in Turkey has already caused more than its share of heartburn in academic circles, thoroughly upsetting the establishment apple cart.
The sensational discovery in 1995 of advanced architecture and associated art, created over 12,000 years ago, has provoked intense debate. At a time when humans were said to be but hunter gatherers, evidence that they could have been much more is a hard pill to swallow, and that is exactly what Göbekli Tepe has been.
Immense well-made buildings, large stone pillars, multiple sophisticated carvings of snakes, scorpions, foxes and other animals, were truly unexplained anomalies. The theory of site discoverer, Klaus Schmidt was that it must have been a temple, a special place reserved for ritual worship. Now archaeologist Ted Banning of the University of Toronto says no. The buildings were for housing, that all.
Evidence on the site of normal human activity, even with advanced art, Banning interprets as signs of normal human activity, much like the lodges with totem poles found among the indians of the American Northwest. Göbekli Tepe, though, is millennia older.
Temple or housing, the main challenge for mainstream archaeology at Göbekli Tepe remains to explain how the place could have come to be at all, without owning up that they have been very wrong about very much.