A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
100,000-Year-Old Artifacts Found in Africa’s Kalahari Desert
Thursday, April 1, 2021
NATHAN, AUSTRALIA—According to a Science News report, calcite crystals and fragments of burned ostrich eggshell and animal bone dated to 105,000 years ago have been unearthed in a rock shelter in southern Africa’s Kalahari Desert, more than 350 miles from the coast. Archaeologist Jayne Wilkins of Griffith University and her colleagues suggest that the eggshells may have been used as water containers, as they are sometimes used by modern hunter-gatherers, or were discarded after the contents were eaten. Some of the animal bones bear butchery marks. The calcite crystals, Wilkins added, are thought to have come from sources located about 1.5 miles from the rock shelter. None of the crystals had been modified for use as tools, and may therefore have held ritual or symbolic significance, she explained. Stone tools and a piece of red pigment bearing scrape marks were also recovered at the site, however. It had been previously suggested that cultural innovation at this time was centered along Africa’s southern coastline, but Wilkins thinks the emergence of Homo sapiens involved the interaction of many different populations across Africa. To read about 200,000-year-old grass bedding found in South Africa's Border Cave, go to "Paleolithic Bedtime."
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