Archaeologists unearth 500,000-year-old pieces of wood in Zambia

A team of scientists unearthed the earliest evidence of wooden structures and published their discoveries in the journal “Nature” on Wednesday.

The scientists’ discoveries include wooden structures and tools, such as digging sticks, which were excavated at the Kalambo Falls in Zambia and have been dated to over 476,000 years ago.

These structures, possibly constructed by early humans as elevated platforms to avoid wet ground, possess characteristics that are unparalleled, according to the scientists’ article.

This find fundamentally alters our comprehension of the capabilities of early humans, as stated in their research.

The discovery sheds light on the utilisation of large tree trunks by early humans in the construction of structures and platforms, as well as their utilisation of wooden tools, as indicated by the study’s authors.

“They used their intelligence, imagination, and skills to create something they’d never seen before, something that had never previously existed,” Larry Barham, the lead researcher and a professor at the University of Liverpool, said on Wednesday.

These structures precede the earliest known Homo sapiens fossils, as stated by Geoff Duller, a co-author of the study and a professor at the University of Aberystwyth. Duller mentioned that the researchers are uncertain about which ancient human species were responsible for their construction, noting that Homo sapiens is the species to which modern humans belong.

The initial discovery of the wooden structures occurred in 2019. In their article, the scientists detailed their use of luminescence dating, a technique involving the measurement of radioactivity absorption by rocks over millennia, to establish the age of their findings.

The unusual discovery was facilitated by the wet conditions at the Kalambo Falls. Typically, wooden materials do not endure over time unless preserved under exceptional circumstances, such as being waterlogged, as explained in the article.

Archaeological discoveries, such as these wooden structures, play a crucial role in shaping our comprehension of human history. They provide insights into various aspects, such as early human hunting practices and the origins of certain boulders that constitute present-day Stonehenge.

In the past year, there were several notable archaeological discoveries, including the earliest known human amputation and the unearthing of a lost city in Iraq following a severe drought.

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