How people 400,000 years ago began to recycle old things (4 photos)

Category: Archeology, PEGI 0+
24 May 2024

Garbage is generated daily, and a huge portion of it is still sent to landfills. It seems that people have only recently learned to recycle at least some of their household waste, but this is not so: past generations treated things with care and tried not to throw anything away. And it's not just our grandparents. Scientists have found that even ancient people gave things a second life.

Ancient cave

In 2000, scientists discovered the Qesem Cave, which became a real sensation in scientific circles. The cave was able to preserve a lot of evidence of life here 200-400 thousand years ago: traces of a fire, simple utensils, bones. And at first, Italian and Israeli archaeologists worked with the largest finds, but then they paid attention to small pieces of stone, which were clearly tools.

Qesem Cave


Scientists are still studying the findings. The tools, such as burins and scrapers, were so small that archaeologists doubted they were actually used. In order to find out the truth, the tools were examined several times in a variety of ways, for example, spectroscopy was performed. And as a result, traces of skins, meat, and plants were found on the once cutting surfaces. This led to the conclusion that the guns were actually used! But why were they so miniature? It is quite possible, as scientists say, that these tools were made from other, larger tools. And when those became unusable, new ones were made from them. At first, scientists thought that these were just fragments, but analyzes proved that these were independent tools.


Why not take a new stone?

The first hypothesis that scientists voiced was this: it was difficult for people to obtain materials, for example, silicon to make new tools, so they recycled old tools. This version quickly showed its inconsistency: further studies of the cave and its surroundings showed that there was no shortage of materials. Scientists concluded: hominids realized that they could not throw away a thing, but make a new one out of it and use it for smaller jobs. This allowed them, for example, to process leather better. Miniature tools developed fine motor skills, and man evolved.

Research of tools

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