Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Prometheus Evolution

"Rock art in Wonderwerk cave 40 km from Kuruman Northern Cape South Africa: Ash found in a layer dated at a million years old hints that inhabitants of the cave were using fire a million years ago." Image Source: Daily Mail.

Gurus, theorists and scholars of the turn-of-the-Millennium keep revisiting the deep past, and discovering that Prehistoric human civilization runs back many more thousand years than previously believed. Daily Mail (sourced from a U of Toronto report) reports on research findings from April 2012, which confirm that human species used fire one million years ago, 300,000 years earlier than previously assumed:
Traces of ash mixed with million-year-old bones and tools have been uncovered in the Wonderwerk Cave in South Africa. Burned plants and bones were found in the cave, suggesting that its inhabitants cooked and perhaps even socialised around camp fires.

The huge cave near the edge of the Kalahari Desert has been the scene of previous excavations which have uncovered an extensive record of human occupation.

A team led by the University of Toronto and Hebrew University of Jerusalem has identified the earliest known evidence of the use of fire by human ancestors.

Microscopic traces of wood ash alongside animal bones and stone tools were found in a layer dated to one million years ago. ... University of Toronto anthropologist Michael Chazan said: "The analysis pushes the timing for the human use of fire back by 300,000 years, suggesting that human ancestors as early as Homo erectus may have begun using fire as part of their way of life.

The control of fire would have been a major turning point in human evolution. The impact of cooking food is well documented, but the impact of control over fire would have touched all elements of human society. Socialising around a camp fire might actually be an essential aspect of what makes us human."

The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The PNAS article's authors state: "To the best of our knowledge, this is the earliest secure evidence for burning in an archaeological context."

Journal reference: Francesco Berna, Paul Goldberg, Liora Kolska Horwitz, James Brink, Sharon Holt, Marion Bamford, and Michael Chazan. Microstratigraphic evidence of in situ fire in the Acheulean strata of Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape province, South Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2, 2012 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1117620109

See all my posts on Prehistory.

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