Between 125,000 and 70,000 years ago, people began to do some very modern things: collecting small objects for no real reason, decorating things with paint, and storing water and even food in containers. The oldest known location with signs of these behaviors is on the coast of southern Africa. Today, most of these important locations are located on the coast, but even during the Pleistocene, when the sea level was low, they were close enough for those who lived there to make use of ocean resources.
According to a view of paleoanthropology, something about this way of life made those early people (or might push them) to innovate. Their distant neighbors live far away from the sea and are said to be behind the cultural age. But archeologist Jayne Wilkins of Griffith University and her colleagues recently discovered evidence that inland people are as fashionable and modern as people in coastal areas.
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In the northern part of Ga-Mohana Hill Rockshelter, there is a layer of sediments dating back 1
According to the optically excited luminescence age, the age of the Ga-Mohana Hill artifact is roughly the same as the oldest analogue on the coast. This age can measure the time when the quartz particles in the sediment were last exposed to light (in this case, About 105,000 years ago). Around the same time, people in the coastal areas of southern Africa began to collect shells with no obvious practical purpose, while people at Diepkloof Rockshelter in South Africa stored water in the oldest known ostrich eggshell container.
For a 21-year-old child, this sounds like an almost ridiculously simple ideaYingshi Century Man: If you put something into something bigger, you can more easily carry it and store it for later use. However, we have at least 200,000 years to figure out how to do things. In the distant prehistoric period, the container was an amazing new idea. As Wilkins and her colleagues said, this was originally an “innovation vital to early mankind.”
The conclusion of these findings is that people in inland Africa are not lagging behind coastal culture at all. Some of the most important innovations in human prehistory occurred in multiple regions of the African continent at about the same time.
Test the coastal hypothesis
If you are not an archaeologist, people living in the interior may be as innovative as people living in the coastal areas, but all the evidence that archaeologists have so far tells a different story. The oldest traces of a new set of (at the time) human behavior were found relatively close to the coastline. In inland areas of Africa, such as the Kalahari Basin, we found evidence that people existed about 100,000 years ago, but there is no indication that people stored water in eggshells, colored paints, or collected shiny objects.
But according to Wilkins and her colleagues, this is more about geology than about what people actually did in the distant past. They wrote in a recent paper: “There are very few well-preserved and old stratified Late Pleistocene sites in southern Africa.” The result is what they call “strong prejudice against coastal areas, which makes inland populations The characters are on the margins”, in their words,”[has] There are always problems. “
The artifacts from Ga-Mohana Hill North Rockshelter are the first evidence that people far away from the coastal areas and coastal areas invented some important cultural concepts at the same time. This tells us important things in the past: many people in many different environments have found similar solutions to problems and similar things that need attention.
natural, 2021 DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-021-03419-0 (about DOI).