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human evolution

4 February 2016

A special issue of the Journal of Human Evolution (Jan 2016) presents the results of a long term excavation of a site in Lower Saxony at an open cast coal mine. The recent archaeology of course had nothing to do with the laying down of the coal – but came from soil layers on top of the quarry. Well preserved wooden utensils and even a wooden spear have been uncovered over the last couple of years, as well as bone tools. Thewy seem to have liked hunting and eating horses as many remains of these animals has been found at the site – along with other animals, including at least one carnivore. I suppose it may be possible the ensemble has nothing to do with hunting and may have more to do with a catastrophic event – hence the burial and preservation of the wooden utensils. It is also said no evidence of a camp fire was found leading to a lurid headline that early humans had learnt to live in northern Eurasia without the means of fire to keep warm – as we are talking about 300,000 years ago (in the middle of an ice age). Did these people eat raw meat? It all sounds a bit strange but see also www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00472484/89 and www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248415002432

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