Not Built by Homo sapiens – Scientists Discover “Extraordinary” 476,000-Year-Old Wooden Structure

Uncovering the Wooden Structure

The excavation team uncovering the wooden structure. Credit: Professor Larry Barham, University of Liverpool

Discoveries at Kalambo Falls, Zambia offer insights into ancient human technology.

Recent research has revealed that nearly half a million years ago, ancient human ancestors, predating Homo sapiens, were already engaging in advanced woodworking.

The artifacts found indicate that these humans were building structures, potentially laying the foundation of platforms or parts of dwellings, much earlier than what was once believed.

The Evidence from Kalambo Falls

A team from the University of Liverpool and Aberystwyth University excavated preserved wood at Kalambo Falls, Zambia, dating back to an impressive 476,000 years. Analyzing the stone tool cut marks on the wood, the team deduced that these early humans intentionally shaped and combined two logs, showcasing the deliberate crafting of logs to fit together. Prior to this discovery, humans were believed to only utilize wood for simpler purposes such as creating fire, crafting digging sticks, and making spears.

Kalambo Falls, Zambia

Kalambo Falls, Zambia where the wood was found. Credit, Professor Geoff Duller, Aberystwyth University

The preservation of this wood is in itself remarkable. Typically, wood from such ancient times deteriorates and disappears. However, at Kalambo Falls, high water levels have protected and preserved these ancient wooden structures.

Challenging Past Beliefs

These findings cast doubt on the previously held belief that Stone Age humans were strictly nomadic. The abundance of resources in the vicinity of Kalambo Falls suggests that these ancient humans could have settled, tapping into the perennial water source and the surrounding forest for sustenance, allowing them to engage in construction.

Professor Barham on the Banks of the Kalambo River

Professor Larry Barham (pictured, right) uncovering the wooden structure on the banks of the river with a fine spray. Credit: Professor Geoff Duller, Aberystwyth University

Professor Larry Barham from the University of Liverpool articulated the significance of this discovery, stating, “They used their intelligence, imagination, and skills to create something they’d never seen before, something that had never previously existed.”

Advanced Dating Techniques

Dating these ancient artifacts was a challenge. Aberystwyth University utilized luminescence dating techniques, focusing on when the surrounding sand’s minerals were last exposed to sunlight. This method pushes the boundaries of dating techniques, giving insights deeper into human evolution than ever before.

Wedge Shaped Piece of Wood

A wedge-shaped piece of wood. Credit: Professor Larry Barham, University of Liverpool

Professor Geoff Duller highlighted the importance of this, mentioning that although Kalambo Falls had been excavated in the 1960s, the lack of advanced dating techniques at that time meant the site’s significance remained veiled.

Looking Ahead

Given its archaeological significance, Kalambo Falls is being considered for UNESCO World Heritage Site status. This research, as part of the pioneering ‘Deep Roots of Humanity’ project, seeks to understand the development of human technology during the Stone Age.

Stone Age Wooden Structure

The wooden structure, showing where Stone Age Humans have cut into the wood. Credit: Professor Larry Barham, University of Liverpool

As Professor Barham concludes, “Kalambo Falls is an extraordinary site and a major heritage asset for Zambia. The Deep Roots team is looking forward to more exciting discoveries emerging from its waterlogged sands.”

Reference: “Evidence for the earliest structural use of wood at least 476,000 years ago” by L. Barham, G. A. T. Duller, I. Candy, C. Scott, C. R. Cartwright, J. R. Peterson, C. Kabukcu, M. S. Chapot, F. Melia, V. Rots, N. George, N. Taipale, P. Gethin and P. Nkombwe, 20 September 2023, Nature.
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-023-06557-9

13 Comments on "Not Built by Homo sapiens – Scientists Discover “Extraordinary” 476,000-Year-Old Wooden Structure"

  1. Looks like a cross. Maybe that was the for the monkey jesus.

  2. It might be worth the effort to use carbon isotopic dating which would rule out a younger date. Also, the stratigraphic date of the enclosing sediments should be consistent with others at the same or nearby sites.

  3. 476000 years ago. Rather specific. That tells me something isn’t on the up and up with this fish tale.

  4. Question Everything | October 10, 2023 at 11:12 am | Reply

    Alternate dating method recommended, too.. Looks like a couple of campfire logs leftover from date night on the beach, 476,000 years ago. Give or take….

  5. Regarding this particular place which is subjected to a water fall would imply the idea that a big flood caused a mud slide that has turned older soile up side down and covered these much younger wet trunks that absorbed older minerals… Therefore there is a need for several dating methods

  6. I doubt the date. There are no error bars attached to that 476k mentioned in the article from the luminescence dating method. Also, the site was already disturbed in the 60’s and whose to say no one disturbed the sand for 476000 years if this was such an ideal place to live.

  7. This is so comical. To believe such things takes a huge leap of faith, not science.

  8. Yeah. I’m not buying it either. Or it’s relevance. It looks like two logs laid one upon the other. And anything can be scraped by anything. Everything else is lost but these two “foundation” pieces?
    476000 years….c’mon

  9. I don’t know – I think you guys have it all wrong. What I find odd is how myopic it all seems to me. Why wouldn’t early humans think about making some sort of structure? It’s always with great surprise that, gee, they made tools out of this or that. Or buried their dead. Or might have some sort of religion. Or cave paintings. It’s not like modern man invented everything in the last 20K or 40K years.

  10. Science has eroded our super natural powers within us.

  11. There was a water-world where the asteroid belt is now that flooded the planet and added much more water. Took out the dinosaurs (described in Job). And the giants (nephilim). Some peoples were advised to build boats and stock with provisions. Magnetic pole shift dropped the field and opened the solar wind which you can see in ancient tree rings. See the recent news. This also skewed radio carbon dating.

  12. Michelle Obama said it best, “Sometimes it’s easier to hold on to your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. Come on guys, what’s the REAL REASON for your doubtfulness? Could it be where it was found?>

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