The discovery that rewrites the Stone Age: a wooden structure from half a million years ago

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Not so simple, not so primitive and, above all, not so stone. Researchers from the Universities of Liverpool and Aberystwyth have found a stone age wooden structure at the Kalambo waterfall, where it should not be or, rather, when it should not be.

It is still not known what exactly it is. Whether it is an elevated platform to contemplate the waterfall, whether it is a walkway to cross the river, or the foundations of a wooden city. What is certain is that they have 476,000 years. That is to say, it was built half a million years before the hominids that populated the earth knew how to do that kind of thing. Or at least, that’s what was thought until now.

“This find has changed the way I think about our early ancestors,” explains Professor Larry Barham, from the Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, about his discovery published in Nature. What’s more, “you have to forget about the ‘Stone Age’ label, look what these people were doing: they made something new and big with wood. They used their intelligence, imagination, and skills to create something they had never seen before, and that had never existed before. They transformed their environment to make life easier, if only by making a platform to sit by the river and carry out their daily tasks. “These people were more like us than we thought.”

It will be more difficult to find the culprits within the Homo genus. They could well be the very tall ones (1.75 meters) and extinct A man from Heidelbergwhich emerged more than 600,000 years ago and lasted at least until 200,000 years ago, or the A man from Rhodesia.

Until now, Evidence of human use of wood was limited to making fires, digging sticks, and spears.. But shaping tree trunks to create large structures and combining them to fit together makes Kalambo the oldest evidence anywhere in the world of such a thing.

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