Forty thousand years ago, a stone age tool maker carved a curious musical instrument out of mammoth ivory. The ivory bar is 20 cm long and has four holes drilled in it, each of which is lined with a precisely cut spiral incision.
The purpose of this strange device found in the Hohle Fels cave in southwestern Germany a few years ago is unclear. It has been suggested that it may be part of a musical instrument or religious object. But now scientists have concluded that it is the earliest known tool used to make ropes. Its impact will be revolutionary.
Our stone age ancestors will be able to feed plant fibers through the four holes of the instrument and twist them into strong ropes and twine. The grooves around the holes help hold the plant fibers in place.
The resulting rope can then be used to make fishing nets, snares and traps, bows and arrows, clothing, and containers for transporting food. Now you can drag heavy objects (such as sledges) with ropes while tying the spear points to the telegraph poles. Our development has reached a technological milestone.
Now, British scientists believe that similar devices found in the Gough Cave in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset indicate that ropes were also made and used in the UK with the end of the last ice age. These devices are made of reindeer antlers and have holes with spiral cutouts. They appear to be used for maneuvering ropes. The purpose is not clear. It seems that the roots of British engineering are ancient.
“A lot of attention has been paid to the importance of our ability to make special stone tools and use firepower as a key element of prehistoric success. Homo sapiens“Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London said that he has studied Gough cave instruments.
“But in many ways, the ability to make strings and ropes from animal tissues and plant fibers was revolutionary in terms of its influence at the time. From basket weaving to the construction of bows and arrows, it opened up a variety of ways to develop the natural world. New way.”
Stringer added that it will also be possible to use ropes to make fire bows or fire drills (used to create friction to cause fires), and hemp rope can be used to tie tents and sleds together. He added: “These sleds may have been dragged away by people or dogs, and then humans have domesticated them from the offspring of wolves.”
It is believed that the instruments in Cheddar Gorge are approximately 15,000 years older than those in the Hoch Fels Cave. But they exist-in one of the most northwestern outposts in Europe Homo sapiens In the early Stone Age-it shows that rope making has become a vital activity for mankind.
Stringer said: “Mysterious objects made of reindeer antlers with grooves were found in Gough’s cave. These devices were called batons and were originally thought to be carried by the chief and were rank badges. But. , There are spiral holes around them, and we now realize that they must be used to make or manipulate ropes.”
Similar devices have also been found in many other locations once occupied by ancient humans in Europe, indicating that the manufacture and use of ropes has been widely used in the late Paleolithic or later Stone Ages. The initial discovery was made by a team led by Nicholas Conard, director of the Institute of Archaeological Sciences at the University of Tübingen. His excavations in the Hohle Fels Cave began in 2008, and the discoveries made the site awarded the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status. One of the earliest musical instruments was discovered there, a 35,000-year-old bone flute, and the earliest undisputed example of figurative art, which is a small-scale made of mammoth ivory and possibly used as amulets Female statue, and is called the Venus of Holerfels Cave.
These were created by some of the first members of Homo sapiens Our species only arrived in Europe after leaving Africa about 60,000 years ago. The complexity of their artwork reveals the maturity of our ancestors. However, before Hohle Fels discovered the four-hole ivory tool, it was confusing until Veerle Rots, an expert on paleolithic materials at the University of Liege in Belgium, passed the raw plant fiber through the copper of the ivory tool. The holes in the replica are fed and able to create four separate twisted pairs, which can be combined into a rope.
Rots said: “This tool answers the question of how to make ropes in the Paleolithic age, which has plagued scientists for decades.”