Hominins Built Wooden Structures and Transformed Environment

Zambia Wooden StructureLIVERPOOL, ENGLAND—The Guardian reports that remains of a wooden structure built by hominins has been discovered near Zambia’s Kalambo Falls by a team of researchers led by Larry Barham of the University of Liverpool. The materials have been dated to least 476,000 years ago by team members from the University of Aberystwyth with luminescence dating techniques, which reveal the last time minerals in the sands surrounding the artifacts had been exposed to sunlight. The remains of the structure include two logs bearing cutting, chopping, and scraping marks made with stone tools also found at the site. The end of one log crosses the second and is held in place with a large notch. “When I first saw it, I thought this can’t be real,” Barham said. He thinks the structure may have been part of a walkway or a foundation for a platform. “A platform could be used as a place to store things, to keep firewood or food dry, or it might have been a place to sit and make things. You could put a little shelter on top and sleep there,” he explained. The dating of the structure indicates it could have been made by Homo heidelbergensis, a hominin that lived in the region at the time. During their investigation of the Kalambo Falls area, Barham and his colleagues also recovered a wooden wedge, a split branch with a notch in it that may have been part of a trap, and a log that had been cut at both ends. For more on Homo heidelbergensis, go to “Our Tangled Ancestry.”

Source: archaeology.org

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