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

Credits: Professor Larry Barham, University of Liverpool

Discoveries from recent studies indicate that about 500,000 years in the past, our ancient human predecessors, predating modern humans, were already proficient in intricate woodworking tasks.

Evidence uncovered suggests that these individuals were constructing edifices, possibly laying the groundwork for platforms or dwelling components, much sooner than previously assumed.

A collaboration between researchers from the University of Liverpool and Aberystwyth University led to the excavation of well-preserved wood at Kalambo Falls, Zambia, traced back to a striking 476,000 years ago.

Upon inspecting the markings made by stone tools on the wood, the researchers inferred that these primeval humans deliberately shaped and joined two logs, demonstrating the intentional modification of logs for assembly.

Before this find, it was thought that humans primarily employed wood for more rudimentary tasks like igniting fires, fashioning digging implements, or forging spears. The survival of such wood is notably rare.

Ordinarily, wood from such distant eras decays and vanishes. But in the case of Kalambo Falls, elevated water levels safeguarded and retained these bygone wooden constructs.

These revelations question the once widely accepted view that Stone Age humans led solely nomadic lives. The plenitude of resources near Kalambo Falls insinuates that these ancient beings might have established a base, drawing from the constant water flow and the encompassing woods for nourishment, subsequently embarking on building activities.

Prof. Larry Barham of the University of Liverpool conveyed the gravity of this breakthrough, commenting, “Utilizing their cognitive abilities, creativity, and expertise, they birthed something entirely novel, a concept previously nonexistent.” Establishing the age of these relics presented difficulties.

Aberystwyth University applied luminescence dating procedures, centering on the last time the neighboring sand’s minerals witnessed sunlight. This approach redefines the limits of dating methodologies, offering more profound glimpses into our ancestral journey.

Prof. Geoff Duller accentuated its relevance, noting that even though Kalambo Falls underwent excavation in the 1960s, the then-existing rudimentary dating processes obscured the locale’s profound implications.

Owing to its significant archaeological value, deliberations are underway for Kalambo Falls to attain UNESCO World Heritage Site recognition. This study, integral to the groundbreaking ‘Deep Roots of Humanity’ initiative, aspires to decipher human technological strides during the Stone Age era.