Africa-Press – Liberia. Archeologists uncovered interlocking pieces of pieces of wood in Africa that may suggest an ancient structure built by human ancestors.
Researchers published an article in the journal Nature on Wednesday detailing surprising findings that may help reshape our understanding of some of our earliest predecessors.
The article, entitled “Evidence for the earliest structural use of wood at least 476,000 years ago,” describes findings near Kalambo Falls in modern-day Zambia.
There, archeologists unearthed two large logs with carved grooves that allowed them to fit together. Luminescence dating suggests the object would’ve been constructed in the Early Stone Age.
The finding surprised researchers because Homo heidelbergensis, the human ancestor living at the time, was thought to be nomadic – a built structure suggests an entirely different kind of lifestyle. The finding also implies our species at the time was more intellectual than previously thought.
Hand axes, carving tools and other equipment found close by seemingly confirm the existence of a built wooden structure, perhaps serving as a walkway or a foundation for a shelter. Previously, the oldest known wooden structure was thought to date back to 9000 BC.
Wooden artifacts are rare because the material is far less likely to be preserved over time than stone or other materials. Precise conditions at the archeological site ensured the structure was preserved under a high water table. The find suggests human ancestors at this period of history might have used wood as a building material far more than previously assumed.