Mythos 1 – Origins of Civilization

 

Human civilization is a product of at least 5 million years of Hominid and Human ingenuity. Hominids were using spears since as long ago as 5 million years,(1)Rick Weiss (February 23, 2007) “For First Time, Chimps Seen Making Weapons for Hunting” The Washington Post and fire at least 1 million years.(2)Steven R. James et al. (February 1989) “Hominid Use of Fire in the Lower and Middle Pleistocene: A Review of the Evidence” Current Anthropology, Volume 30, Number 1, Pages 1–26 Modern and Archaic Humans were cooking food at least 250,000 years ago,(3)Chris Organ et al. (22 August 2011) “Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 108, Number 35, Pages 14555–14559 and have used cosmetics for at least 100,000 years.(4)Ian Watts (2010) “The pigments from Pinnacle Point Cave 13B, Western Cape, South Africa” Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 59, Numbers 3-4, Pages 392-411 Our ancestors were building furniture for at least 79,000 years,(5)Lyn Wadley et al. (2011) “Middle Stone Age Bedding Construction and Settlement Patterns at Sibudu, South Africa” Science, Volume 334, Number 6061, Pages 1388-1391 and making jewelry for at least 75,000 years.(6)Christopher Henshilwood et al. (2004) “Middle Stone Age shell beads from South Africa” Science, Volume 304, Number 5669, Page 404 We’ve used projectile weapons for at least 64,000 years,(7)Victoria Gill (August 26, 2010) “Oldest evidence of arrows found” BBC News been sewing things together for at least 61,000 years,(8)Lucinda Backwell et al. (2008) “Middle Stone Age bone tools from the Howiesons Poort layers, Sibudu Cave, South Africa” Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 35, Issue 6, Pages 1566–1580 and have been grinding grains for at least 37,000 years.(9)K. Wright (1991) “The Origins and development of ground stone assemblages in Late Pleistocene Southwest Asia” Paléorient, Volume 17, Issue 1, Pages 19-45 We’ve had domesticated dogs for at least 35,000 years,(10)O. Thalmann et al. (2013) “Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs” Science, Volume 342, Number 6160, Pages 871-874 and domesticated sheep for around 13,000 years.(11)Robert E. Krebs and Carolyn A. Krebs (2003) Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions & Discoveries of the Ancient World We’ve been making ceramic statues for at least 27,000 years,(12)John H. Lienhard (November 24, 1989) “No. 359: The Dolni Vestonice Ceramics” University of Houston, and pottery for at least 20,000 years.(13)Keiji Imamura (2002) Prehistoric Japan, New perspectives on insular East Asia

Orangutan Spear Fishing in Borneo

Orangutan Spear Fishing in Borneo

By any stretch of the imagination, human civilization extends back into the Pleistocene Epoch. Unfortunately, our written record is much shorter, with the earliest translated texts dating back to only around 5,000 years ago. Older written records exist in South Asia, Southwest Asia, and Europe, but so far they have not been successfully translated. If these older records are ever translated, they will still only push back our written history by a few thousand years; hundreds of thousands of years will still be missing. A much more ancient form of symbols is currently being studied which is found on cave walls in Europe from around 30,000 years ago, and cave walls in Southern Africa from around 75,000 years ago.(14)Robin McKie (March 11, 2012) “Did Stone Age cavemen talk to each other in symbols?” The Guardian This more ancient proto-script will hopefully shed some light on the earlier human mind, however is unlikely to include any historical records. To reconstruct the history of the earlier eras of civilization we need to use archaeology, paleontology, genetics, and mythology.

References   [ + ]

1. Rick Weiss (February 23, 2007) “For First Time, Chimps Seen Making Weapons for Hunting” The Washington Post
2. Steven R. James et al. (February 1989) “Hominid Use of Fire in the Lower and Middle Pleistocene: A Review of the Evidence” Current Anthropology, Volume 30, Number 1, Pages 1–26
3. Chris Organ et al. (22 August 2011) “Phylogenetic rate shifts in feeding time during the evolution of Homo” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Volume 108, Number 35, Pages 14555–14559
4. Ian Watts (2010) “The pigments from Pinnacle Point Cave 13B, Western Cape, South Africa” Journal of Human Evolution, Volume 59, Numbers 3-4, Pages 392-411
5. Lyn Wadley et al. (2011) “Middle Stone Age Bedding Construction and Settlement Patterns at Sibudu, South Africa” Science, Volume 334, Number 6061, Pages 1388-1391
6. Christopher Henshilwood et al. (2004) “Middle Stone Age shell beads from South Africa” Science, Volume 304, Number 5669, Page 404
7. Victoria Gill (August 26, 2010) “Oldest evidence of arrows found” BBC News
8. Lucinda Backwell et al. (2008) “Middle Stone Age bone tools from the Howiesons Poort layers, Sibudu Cave, South Africa” Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 35, Issue 6, Pages 1566–1580
9. K. Wright (1991) “The Origins and development of ground stone assemblages in Late Pleistocene Southwest Asia” Paléorient, Volume 17, Issue 1, Pages 19-45
10. O. Thalmann et al. (2013) “Complete Mitochondrial Genomes of Ancient Canids Suggest a European Origin of Domestic Dogs” Science, Volume 342, Number 6160, Pages 871-874
11. Robert E. Krebs and Carolyn A. Krebs (2003) Groundbreaking Scientific Experiments, Inventions & Discoveries of the Ancient World
12. John H. Lienhard (November 24, 1989) “No. 359: The Dolni Vestonice Ceramics” University of Houston,
13. Keiji Imamura (2002) Prehistoric Japan, New perspectives on insular East Asia
14. Robin McKie (March 11, 2012) “Did Stone Age cavemen talk to each other in symbols?” The Guardian