Neanderthals may have used projectile spears

Bone abnormality suggests repetitive movements similar to those documented for professional throwing athletes

Three long bones from a Neanderthal left arm have been found at Tourville-la-Rivière, Normandy. The bones are somewhere between 183,000 and 236,000 years old and paleo-ecological indicators suggest an date towards the end of the MIS 7 interglacial (245,000 to 190,000 years ago).

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Cave art from Sulawesi was contemporary with Upper Palaeolithic European cave-painting tradition

U-series re-dating suggests that Indonesian cave art is almost 40,000 years old

The arrival of modern humans in Europe is marked by the appearance in the archaeological record of a sophisticated artistic tradition, which includes portable art objects and cave art. Archaeologists have long been puzzled by an apparent lack of antecedents for this artwork, either in Africa or on early modern human migration routes. It is difficult to see how a seemingly mature artistic tradition could arise de novo in Upper Palaeolithic Europe – but if the 40,000 year old cave paintings at sites such as Altamira and El Castillo really were the earliest cave art anywhere in the world, this must have been the case. Continue reading

Levallois technology originated independently in Africa and Eurasia

Armenian findings provide insight into Lower to Middle Palaeolithic transition

The Middle Stone Age/Middle Palaeolithic saw a shift in emphasis from hand-axe (biface) manufacture to prepared-core methods. In the former, flakes detached from a stone core are regarded as waste products; in the latter, flakes detached from a pre-shaped stone core are the desired products. The shift to prepared-core industries probably came about as toolmakers began to recognise that debitage (waste flakes) could often be useful tools in their own right. Such methods are economical in their use of raw materials, because many flakes may be struck from the same core. Continue reading