» Home > In the News

Hydraulic engineering on the Nile

22 June 2023

At https://phys.org/news/2023-06-walls-river-nile-reveal-ancient.html … a huge network of stone walls along the River Nile,  in both Egypt and Sudan, reveal a long lived form of hydraulic engineering, and sheds light on connections between ancient Nubia and Egypt. The findings are published in the journal Geoarchaeology. It used satellite images as well as drones and ground surveys, in order to locate 1300 river groins between the first and fourth cataracts. Hundreds are now submerged beneath the Aswan High Dam reservoir. Aerial photographs from the past have also been used. Indeed, some of the groins are now located in the desert, within ancient but now dry, former Nile channels.

At https://phys.org/news/2023-06-rare-glimpse-ancient-ancestors-southeast.html … concerns a cave in Laos which has been found  to have been occupied by early humans – with tool similarities to Australian Aborigines. The findings arre being used to draw  human spread Out of Africa via Arabia to SE Asia. Much earlier than previously thought. Well, not really that much, but that is what the blurb says. They are thought to have used river valleys to negotiate their journey eastwards, rather than hacking a route through thick tropical forest. It revolves around dating layers of sediment on the floor of the cave, and dates of thousands of years are involved. Human fossils at the site are too old for C14 dating – so we know they are older than 42,000 years  ago [the Laschamp event]. Luminescence dating was employed instead. The findings place a heavy importance on the reliability of that technique – but the results appear reasonable. The minimum date achieved was 46,000 thousand years ago – just before Lschamp. Uranium dating  of a stalactite tip found in sediment, coupled with electron spin resonance dating of two bovid teeth, unearthed at 6.5 m deep, helped to set a chronology of the layering. The dates do not reflect a rapid deposit of sediment, but instead, a reasonably deposited stack of  sediment. They arrive at an occupation of the cave between 86,000 and 56,000 years ago. The caveat here is that the early migrations did not contribute significantly to modern day human populations in the region.

We may note the cave in question was close to another cave in Laos, which harboured Denisovans, dated at 70,000 years ago. See also https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-38715-y

At https://phys.org/news/2023-05-ancient-humans-arabia-years-africa.html … ancient humans may have paused in Arabia for 30,000 years, on their way Out of Africa. On the other hand, humans may just have lived in Arabia as it was a well watered region at the time, and had no plans to go anywhere else while that remained so. They did not necessarily arrive from Africa. Fitting the evidence to support a theory – Out of Africa. Problem is they ignore other options. It’s all guesswork, like a lot of the conclusions – even when the research is top notch. The theory is accepted as taught and facts must fit the theory – or that seems to be the way it works. Let the evidence speak for itself.

Skip to content