Sunday 9 December 2012

The First Nerds? Oh, Please.

Seriously. The first nerds. From the Daily Mail online

How ancient Africans were the first nerds: Birth of technology traced back 70,000 years to the continent's southern tip
There is no news here. It's a puff piece on the publication of Christopher Henshilwood's "Late Pleistocene Techno-traditions in Southern Africa: A Review of the Still Bay and Howiesons Poort, c. 75–59 ka"(Journal of World Prehistory 25:205-237, December 2012).
     As the title states this is a review, and a useful one, of claims for the earliest appearance of modern human behaviour, which stands as evidence for modern human cognitive abilities. I don't plan on disputing any of the material traces today. I'm satisfied that the South African archaeologists and their global collaborators can identify modern human behaviour. Of course, the BBC's recent series on our origins probably listened to those same archaeologists when constructing a view of the times around the time that modern humans arose in that part of the world. 
     I sincerely hope that the real modern humans didn't haft their spear points at an oblique angle to the shaft, as was the case in this scene from the BBC series. 'Course, if it were the case, it might explain why it took us about 30,000 years to get from there to Europe, and only a blink of an eye to get from Europe to Australia by at least 40,000 years ago.

Could this BE any cheesier?
I'll not bore you this time with my 'plaint about the dating of the southern African caves. I just wish they'd directly date one of those lovely bone points [if, that is, any useful constituents remain].
     I'm still working on hand[soap]axes. Stay tuned.

SA announces new posts on the Subversive Archaeologist's facebook page (mirrored on Rob Gargett's news feed), on Robert H. Gargett's page, Rob Gargett's twitter account, and his Google+ page. A few of you have already signed up to receive email when I post. Others have subscribed to the blog's RSS feeds. You can also become a 'member' of the blog through Google Friend Connect. Thank you for your continued patronage. You're the reason I do this.