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Boats and Pinch Points

25 March 2024

At https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/03/240320160445.htm … boats were used by Neolithic people to colonise the Mediterranean. By necessity, boats must have been used to explore the southern shores of the Mediterranean, and expand along the western Atlantic seaboard as far as Orkney, Ireland, and Scotland. We also know that Mesolithic people used boats. In fact, a Mesolithic boat yard was discovered in the Solent. It dates prior to the 6200BC event which led to the drowning of large parts of the continental shelf system around Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia, including the Solent. Boats turned up in Britain in the first half of the Holocene – and are not confined to the second half [which would include the Neolithic]. Boats may have been used during the Palaeolithic – so none of this is surprising. The really surprising thing is that  Neolithic boats brought not just human cargoes but domesticated animals too, and the knowledge of growing cereals and other arable crops. We are talking about substantial vessels.

At https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2024/03/240320122617.htm … here we are told, first off and at the very beginning, that modern humans dispersed from Africa on multiple occasions. That is a distinct change of tack. The tram lines are moving. A revamp of the Out of Africa paradigm is evolving.

We are then told, human dispersal and migration was also a feature of the period that embraced the Toba volcano. In other words, the idea is to suggest that environmental change can cause dispersal of humans and it has long been held that Toba had a very bad effect on the humans living at that time. Depopulation and a pinch point in which human numbers fell dramatically. Well, it seems that idea is on its last legs as the research in this paper seems to show humans coped very well with the Toba super eruption at 74,000 years ago. Has the effect of that volcanic eruption been exaggerated – much like Thera was exaggerated at one time. If so, the pinch point should really be moved elsewhere – or what is called a human bottleneck when numbers fell dramatically. A date contemporary with the Laschamp event, around 50 to 40,000 years ago, would seem to be a logical location – contemporary a mass die off of large mammal species.

The research team, at first sight, seem anxious to get Out of Africa rolling again. We now have the idea that people were migrating in both wet and green periods of climate and also during arid phases of climate. They could have made use of seasonal rivers rather than trudging along dry wadis looking for the odd water hole. The research was done in the Horn of Africa, which is known for its dry episodes. Climate change as a result of the Toba eruption seems increasingly to have diminished in importance – but mentioning global warming is one preriquisite of getting published in many journals – and no doubt mention of Out of Africa also has similar political incentives as a sound bite. The researchers have found evidence that humans adapted to any changes in climate at the time of Toba – as they obviously did over countless  thousands of years on other occasions. One site was in NW Ethiopia, along a tributary of the Blue Nile. Toba erupted when the site was occupied as tiny glass fragments seem to match those of Toba known from elsewhere. Cryptotephra are volcanic glass shards which range from 80 to 20 microns in size – smaller than the diameter of a human hair. It is a long process to syphon these shards from the soil – but that is what they did. Hence, they earned kudos for doing this – out in the field. These shards, it is hoped, can be used to correlate archaeological sites across Africa. They did not actually find any evidence that humans migrated Out of Ethiopia or the Horn of Africa in general. It was an add-on. Basically an assumption based on mainstream theory.

At https://www.livescience.com/archaeology/obsidian-blades-with-food-traces-reveal-1st-settlers-of-rapa-nui-had-regular-contact-with-south-americans-1000-years-ago … Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, had regular contact with South America we are told. This appears to strengthen the idea that Polynesians, in search of islands to colonise in the Pacific, stumbled across a huge continent – already peopled. This was suggested a couple of years ago by another research team. South America is a couple of thousand miles from Easter Island so the climate must have been favourable for voyages of exploration. It is no accident this occurred during the Medieval Warm Period – although the incentive to seek out new lands [migrating by sea] MAY have been influenced by odd goings on in the 9th century AD. People may migrate from island to island when overcrowding becomes a hindrance but then again, people were influenced by religion and myth back in the day, and the suggestion that disaster was on the horizon may have been enough to set it in motion.

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