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camels and axes

18 May 2016

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2016/article/ancient-trading… … which concerns a modern study of camel DNA and the movement of ancient caravans across the deserts of Arabia that may have shaped the genetic diversity of the Arabian camel (over the last 3000 years). Little is actually known about camel domestication, only that wild camels are a thing of the past.

Meanwhile, archaeologists claim to have found the world's oldest stone axe – in Australia. It is said to date back over 40,000 years which beats a Japanese example that was dated around 35,000 years ago. Hand held axes go back to the Acheulian culture but in this instance it is hafted axes that are being discussed – axes with wooden handles. It is somewhat surprising to learn that Australian Aborigines may have developed the technology in their own backyard and in isolation. However, one can't but help think a connection exists with the Ainu people of Japan, from a time when sea levels were quite different to what they are in the modern world, and south east Asia was a much bigger land mass. Saying that no intermediary hafted axes have been found in SE Asia does not prove anything as most of it is at the bottom of the sea. Not only that, one can't imagine that archaeology is an important part of Indonesian culture – at least not until recent years. There could be mountains of stone axes out there just waiting to be unearthed.  Read the story at http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2016/article/archaeologists-… ….


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