Friday, September 07, 2007

A New Palaeolithic Revolution
For decades archaeologists have rightly respected the Neolithic period c. 8500 BC as a revolutionary era of the most profound change, when the wiring of mankind’s brain shifted from transient hunter-gathering to permanent settlement in farming communities. Hearths, temples, articulated burials, whistling ‘wheat’ fields and security replaced the uncertain ravages of seasonal running with the pack. Or so stereotypes maintain.

Now, from the remote shores of Budrinna on Lake Fezzan in Libya, and Melka Konture on the banks of the River Awash in Ethiopia, a series of stunning discoveries are set to challenge the originality of the Neolithic Revolution. After 39 years of surveys and excavations, Professor Helmut Ziegert of Hamburg University presents his results as a world exclusive in Minerva (pp. 8-9). In both African locations he has discovered huts and sedentary village life dating between an astonishing 400,000 and 200,000 Before Present - if correct, literally a quantum leap in our understanding of man’s evolution.

Yeah, that would definitely be exceptional, all right. . . . .