Olduvai stone balls were bone crushers

Researchers Paleolithic cave Kesem in Israel found that discovered there is a spherical stone tools were used for crushing animal bones and extracting marrow. Article published in the journal PLOS One.

Archaeologists have found many stone balls in the contexts of the Oldowan and Acheulian cultures in East Africa and the middle East. Ancient people started to make them about 2.4 million years ago, selecting stones of suitable shape and bringing it to spherical with chips. At different times, scientists assumed that it was the projectiles, guns to soften food or even waste from the manufacture of other guns.

Paleolithic site in the cave Kesem (the current Central district Israel) dates from the period 200-420 thousand years ago. At this time in the region already existed labrusca culture, which is characterized by more advanced tools. Katemcy the last of the known ancient people who used balls.

Archaeologist Ella Assaf (Assaf Ella) from tel Aviv University and her colleagues took ten balls found in Kisame, and examined using a stereo microscope and metallographic microscope in the Laboratory of nutrition and the ancient technology of the University of Rome Sapienza. Analysis of wear of the balls showed that they were used as a percussion instrument. Some of them, judging by the deposits on the surface of the stone was not made on the spot — kesenci brought them to the cave from some other places and continued to use.

In addition, the guns showed microscopic organic remains, including stubborn fat and bone fragments. In the cave found many animal bones. In 2015, the analysis of Tartar kasimtsev also confirmedthat the basis of their diet was meat. Group Assaf suggested that the balls used to crush bone and extract bone marrow.

To test their assumption, they made some of their own balls of limestone on the same technology that kesimci, and tried to use them to extract marrow from beef bones and Barany from which previously removed the meat stone scrapers. For comparison, they did the same operation using a rough stone. It turned out that the stone balls for this purpose are much more efficient: they are more comfortable to hold and sharp chips faster, split the bone, so that the brain doesn’t splash.

Previously, scientists were convincedthat ancient Olduvai created stone tools for specific tasks, and they also continued to use outdated guns even after the appearance of more advanced.

Artem Efimov

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