Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago.
The tools roughly coincided with the emergence of an ancient human ancestor called Homo erectus, and fossilized H. erectus remains were also found at the same site, said study author Yonas Beyene, an archaeologist at the Association for Research and Conservation of Culture in Ethiopia. Collectively, the finding suggests an ancient tool-making technique may have arisen with the evolution of the new species.
“This discovery shows that the technology began with the appearance of Homo erectus,” Beyene told LiveScience. “We think it might be related to the change of species.” Read more.
ScienceDaily (Nov. 6, 2012) — Jewelry and female figurines from Belica, Serbia, to be exhibited for the first time at Tübingen University Museum.
Archeologists from the University of Tübingen’s Institute of Prehistory are working with the Serbian Archaeological Institute in Belgrade to analyze the most comprehensive Early Neolithic hoard ever found. Work on the nearly 8000 year old collection of jewelry and figurines is funded by the Thyssen Foundation.
The unique hoard is composed of some 80 objects made of stone, clay and bone. “This collection from Belica, in all its completeness, provides a unique glimpse into the symbols of the earliest farmers and herdsmen in Europe,” says Tübingen archaeologist Dr. Raiko Krauss, who heads the German side of the project. Read more.
Students of Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology of Tamil University here have discovered an important hero stone, a stone commemorating a heroic act, with Tamil-Brahmi (Tamizhi) inscription near Pudukottai. The discovery is considered to be significant in the history of early Tamil epigraphical research.
T. Thangadurai, S. Pandyan and A. Moses, research students of the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology, found the stone slab at Porpanaikottai near Pudukottai during fieldwork last week.
The stone, lying near a pond close to the village, was being used by people for washing clothes. The triangular stone, measuring about 60 cm x 60 cm in area, is 10-cm thick. The stone has a five-line inscription written in Tamil using Tamil-Brahmi characters of circa 2 century Christian Era. Read more.
Australian researchers have discovered a 17th-century postal system made of dozens of stone inscriptions on the island of Madagascar.
Carved between 1601 and 1657 by sailors aboard Dutch East India Company ships on their way to the East Indies, the stones often featured letters placed at their base. The missives, carefully wrapped in layers of canvas, tar and lead envelopes, were left for other ships to pick up.
“The idea was that the crew of the next Dutch ship to anchor in that same place would pen down the message on the rock and collect the letters,” Wendy van Duivenvoorde, a lecturer in maritime archaeology at Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, told Discovery News.
“Basically it was like an early postal system,” she said. Read more.
A stone discovered by chance on the Isle of Canna is Scotland’s first known example of a bullaun “cursing stone”, experts have revealed.
Dating from about 800 AD, the stones are associated with early Christian crosses - of which there is one on the isle.
It was found in an old graveyard by a National Trust for Scotland (NTS) farm manager.
The stone is about 25cm in diameter and engraved with an early Christian cross.
It was later found to fit exactly into a large rectangular stone with a worn hole which was located at the base of the Canna cross.
NTS manager of Canna, Stewart Connor, said the importance of the stone became clear after he was notified of the discovery.
He said: “We knew of the importance of bullaun stones and that it could be a really significant find. Read more.
The Liuhuaishan site is an important early Paleolithic site found in the Bose Basin. In December 2008, Scientists from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (IVPP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Youjiang Museum for Nationalities, Bose, carried out a short survey around this site and found three new Paleolithic localities with a collection of 37 stone artifacts. This new finds will help better understand the human behavior at open-air sites in south China, researchers reported in the latest issue of Acta Anthropologica Sinica 2012 (2).
The stone artifact assemblage included cores, flakes, chunks, choppers and chopping tools, and picks, which were mainly made of quartzite, silicarenite and siltstone. The size of all artifacts was large and most of the tools were retouched on pebbles. The characteristics of these stone artifacts showed very strong ties with the pebble tool tradition of south China. Read more.
Afghan students learn the centuries-old skills that carved out the giant buddhas blown up by extremists
Under perfectly carved niches that once held dozens of small buddha statues, the purposeful tap of chisel on stone echoed over the Bamiyan valley for the first time in centuries.
Twelve young Afghans had gathered to take the first tentative steps back towards a stone-working tradition that once made their home famous, at a workshop in a cave gouged out as a monastery assembly hall more than 1,000 years ago.
The cave-hall was part of a complex built around two giant buddhas that loomed serenely over Bamiyan for about 15 centuries – until the Taliban government condemned them as un-Islamic in early 2001 and blew them up.
“I was interested in this course because I want to restore our culture,” said Ismael Wahidi, a 22-year-old student of archeology at Bamiyan University, who set aside more conventional studies for a week to learn how to turn a lump of stone into a sculpture. Read more.
It had been a landmark for 4,000 years but a standing stone in Pembrokeshire has been knocked over - by a vehicle reversing.
The landmark on Dinas Mountain has been a well known feature on the roadside near Newport.
It is thought the vehicle accidentally knocked over the Bedd Morris stone, crushing a fence.
Despite weighing over two tonnes it has been temporarily moved due to fears it may be stolen.
Phil Bennett, culture and heritage manager at the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, said the stone dated back to the Bronze Age.
The stone, which normally stands between Cwm Gwaun and Newport, was named after a legendary bandit.
While it is out of the ground there will be a small archaeological dig to establish how long it had been at the site. Read more.