Palaeolithic Farming

9 Nov 2017

At ... which is much as many have suspected. Cut marks on animal bones do not necessarily imply the use of stone and bone tools by early hominids. Many examples of human tool use may have nothing whatsoever to do with humans, or their earlier ancestors (such as Lucy). Some may be giant bite marks - inflicted by crocodiles, or big carnivores. These are often explained as primary evidence of butchering of carcasses using stone and bone tools. It has always been a difficult area - but many an early anthropologist has sought to bolster his work by claiming evidence of humans over apes as a result of such signs of butchery. In particular, finds from the Olduvai Gorge in Kenya and in the Ethiopian section of the Rift Valley have been questioned.

The bigger story however is at ... Chinese archaeologists have found carbonised rice grains in caves dating to the New Stone Age (the Palaeolithic) which is again evidence that not all hunter gatherers lived solely on hunting - but experimented with plants, purposely planting and nurturing favoured food plants. In this instance, rice. In addition, common farmland weed seeds were also found with the rice grains, indicating cultivation was taking place. However, the discovery is also intriguing from a catastrophist point of view as it is thought these early farmers lived in caves nearby (which is where the carbonised material was found, in cave sediments). Why were they living in caves - why didn't they live in a more open aspect, a rudimentary hut for example. Were the caves a place of safety - but from what? An angry sky, perhaps.