Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

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JD
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Re: Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

Post by JD »

To go back to the original post and the topic of "ancient tech", one of the things I studied in college was flint-knapping, as part of a "prehistoric technology" class. And one of the things that people have realized, in the process of rediscovering this technology, is just how much skill can be involved. Just about anybody can learn to knock some flakes off a stone "core", but consistently making quality arrowheads or spear points is not easy.

And there was one example I remember seeing in a book that I wish to God I could find again, but it was an amazing spearhead - something like eight inches long and two inches wide but only about an eighth of an inch thick, perfectly symmetrical, shaped with these beautiful little flakes chipped off it. It would have been too fragile to actually use, but we think it might have been made either for ritual purposes or as a masterpiece: something somebody made to show exactly how good he was.

And that's part of what bugs me when people say "We don't know how ancient people did this!" or "This shouldn't have been possible with their technology!" or whatever. Yeah we do, it's called craftsmanship. If your people have spent generations doing something, and you've spent a lifetime perfecting your skills, you can do pretty damn amazing things with "primitive" tools.
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lshap
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Re: Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

Post by lshap »

JD wrote: 26 Apr 2021, 16:30 To go back to the original post and the topic of "ancient tech", one of the things I studied in college was flint-knapping, as part of a "prehistoric technology" class. And one of the things that people have realized, in the process of rediscovering this technology, is just how much skill can be involved. Just about anybody can learn to knock some flakes off a stone "core", but consistently making quality arrowheads or spear points is not easy.

And there was one example I remember seeing in a book that I wish to God I could find again, but it was an amazing spearhead - something like eight inches long and two inches wide but only about an eighth of an inch thick, perfectly symmetrical, shaped with these beautiful little flakes chipped off it. It would have been too fragile to actually use, but we think it might have been made either for ritual purposes or as a masterpiece: something somebody made to show exactly how good he was.

And that's part of what bugs me when people say "We don't know how ancient people did this!" or "This shouldn't have been possible with their technology!" or whatever. Yeah we do, it's called craftsmanship. If your people have spent generations doing something, and you've spent a lifetime perfecting your skills, you can do pretty damn amazing things with "primitive" tools.
JD there is a podcast specifically on flint knapping in that link I posted. I found it interesting, you might also want to check it out. Funny enough, the prof interviewed teaches knapping and also believes language evolved from a need to teach those skills.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

Post by Eric the .5b »

lshap wrote: 26 Apr 2021, 17:42JD there is a podcast specifically on flint knapping in that link I posted. I found it interesting, you might also want to check it out. Funny enough, the prof interviewed teaches knapping and also believes language evolved from a need to teach those skills.
Fascinating concept.

Ironically, it makes me think of the entirely voiceless YouTube channel Primitive Technology where this young Australian guy goes out into the forest and builds huts, makes pottery, shoes, slings, etc. using materials (and tools made from the materials) around him in the forest. It's very easy to underestimate what people can do with these techniques.
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Eric the .5b
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Re: Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

Post by Eric the .5b »

Related:



Especially interesting since something like "We walked them." or "They walked." was supposedly given as an explanation of how they moved the statues by Easter Island natives at the time of first contact with Europeans.
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Warren
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Re: Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

Post by Warren »

Eric the .5b wrote: 26 Apr 2021, 19:40
lshap wrote: 26 Apr 2021, 17:42JD there is a podcast specifically on flint knapping in that link I posted. I found it interesting, you might also want to check it out. Funny enough, the prof interviewed teaches knapping and also believes language evolved from a need to teach those skills.
Fascinating concept.

Ironically, it makes me think of the entirely voiceless YouTube channel Primitive Technology where this young Australian guy goes out into the forest and builds huts, makes pottery, shoes, slings, etc. using materials (and tools made from the materials) around him in the forest. It's very easy to underestimate what people can do with these techniques.
Yes. That guy is the real deal. Always have to watch his videos three times. Once just to see it for the first time and enjoy it. A second time with the CC on. And a third time to pause and back up and suck the marrow out of it. And like you say, he's got the best dialog on YouTube.
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lshap
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Re: Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

Post by lshap »

Eric the .5b wrote: 26 Apr 2021, 19:54 Related:



Especially interesting since something like "We walked them." or "They walked." was supposedly given as an explanation of how they moved the statues by Easter Island natives at the time of first contact with Europeans.
Now that is very cool.

So we've been people with the same brains for 270,000-180,000 years (that keeps moving farther back, too).
Granted, there weren't that many of us around, but that's a lot of time for people to have solved some problems creatively. I find it hard to grasp the possibilities, but it's fun to try.
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lunchstealer
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Re: Human Origins, Historical Oddities, Evolution Etc.

Post by lunchstealer »

lshap wrote: 26 Apr 2021, 21:38
Eric the .5b wrote: 26 Apr 2021, 19:54 Related:



Especially interesting since something like "We walked them." or "They walked." was supposedly given as an explanation of how they moved the statues by Easter Island natives at the time of first contact with Europeans.
Now that is very cool.

So we've been people with the same brains for 270,000-180,000 years (that keeps moving farther back, too).
Granted, there weren't that many of us around, but that's a lot of time for people to have solved some problems creatively. I find it hard to grasp the possibilities, but it's fun to try.
Yeah, some of those Novas about 'scientists spend a bunch of time re-creating ancient objects and buildings to figure out how they were actually done in practice' are usually pretty good.
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