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Neanderthals Built a Water Reservoir


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21 hours ago, YaDinghus said:

I'd like to see your source on that.

Back in the day in anthropology classes, especially in prehistoric economy, we learned that hunter/gatherers only need(ed) to spend 2-4 hours a day on average to get the food they needed to do more than survive.

And you accepted that as a literal fact without questioning your instructor's wild accusations that he/she would have no knowledge whatsoever about the daily life of Neolithic hunter/gathers.   

Iffen those Neolithic hunter/gathers were hunting and gathering their daily food needs from an aquatic habitat (rivers, lakes, tidal zones) then 2-4 hours per day would surely be sufficient time.

21 hours ago, mistermack said:

When I was a kid, I used to go to my Uncle's farm in Ireland in the school holidays. I was amazed at how some things were done, and would make suggestions that I knew would be better, but there was no chance of getting my uncle or grandfather to change.

 "HA", you just proved me correct.

Your Uncle was far too busy just trying to survive to even think about paying any attention to someone like you who didn't have to work to survive and had plenty of free time for thinking up what your Uncle considered crazy ideas.

 

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34 minutes ago, Ten oz said:

It is not known whether or not they know how to make fire. Contact with the Sentinelese has repeatedly failed. Nothing is definitively known about them. It isn't even know what the size of their population is. No outside people have spoken with them or observed them do anything other than shoot arrows. It isn't even known if they have a primary village somewhere on the island or several outposts spreed out across it. 

That's true, but it's not the full picture. They have been observed and studied from a distance, and landing parties have had a look around deserted villages, where the residents have melted away into the forest, and concluded that they don't know how to start fires, and wait for lightning strikes, and do their best to keep a fire going following that. Presumably local fishermen can tell when fire is in use, and note periods when there is no signs of it. If you see no sign of smoke for long periods, and then plenty of it following a lightning storm, then that would be pretty strong evidence.

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31 minutes ago, SamCogar said:

And you accepted that as a literal fact without questioning your instructor's wild accusations that he/she would have no knowledge whatsoever about the daily life of Neolithic hunter/gathers.  

Have you been to college? The first thing we learned was to TAKE NOTHING AT FACE VALUE. He properly cited research papers from established anthropology articles and books. Alas, it's more than 10 years ago, so no, I can't recall the sources my professor referenced.

But you trying to discredit my very renowned college professor is a pathetic tactic. I mean, seriously...

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23 minutes ago, SamCogar said:

 "HA", you just proved me correct.

Your Uncle was far too busy just trying to survive to even think about paying any attention to someone like you who didn't have to work to survive and had plenty of free time for thinking up what your Uncle considered crazy ideas.

You write like you knew my uncle ???    :D   

In reality, what you describe was only true for a few days or weeks a year, on the odd days when there was good dry weather, and they made hay while the sun shone. The rest of the time, if you knew the weather in the West of Ireland, you would know that they had long spells of ENFORCED leisure time, when the weather prevented them from doing useful work. There were routine tasks, but also plenty of time for sitting round the fire, smoking and putting the world to rights and moaning about the weather. 

And that was in the summer. The winters are long with short days, and the enforced leisure time can last weeks on end. Not that they sat around all the time, they would find things to do, as most people do.

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5 minutes ago, mistermack said:

And that was in the summer. The winters are long with short days, and the enforced leisure time can last weeks on end. Not that they sat around all the time, they would find things to do, as most people do.

I have Irish ancestry, so I have a pretty good idea of what they might have done during their forced leisure time ;-) . This is, however, somewhat beside the point of this thread

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49 minutes ago, mistermack said:

That's true, but it's not the full picture. They have been observed and studied from a distance, and landing parties have had a look around deserted villages, where the residents have melted away into the forest, and concluded that they don't know how to start fires, and wait for lightning strikes, and do their best to keep a fire going following that. Presumably local fishermen can tell when fire is in use, and note periods when there is no signs of it. If you see no sign of smoke for long periods, and then plenty of it following a lightning storm, then that would be pretty strong evidence.

The Expeditions in the 1880's and 1967 found the same individual abandoned village. It is unclear if that village is used, how often, by how many people, or for what. Certainly not enough information to make any definitive statements about them. Smoke has been been observed as has light at night. So it is strongly believed they use fire. The source of fire and extent of use simply is not known. When M.V. Portman first found and abducted a small group (2 older adults and 4 children) in the 1880's next to nothing was learned. The abductees spoke a language which could not be deciphered, weren't discovered in or near a village far are Portman could tell, and quickly became deathly ill. Any conclusions one would attempt to make is purely guesswork. 

Edited by Ten oz
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6 minutes ago, YaDinghus said:

I have Irish ancestry, so I have a pretty good idea of what they might have done during their forced leisure time ;-) . This is, however, somewhat beside the point of this thread

No, we've jumped from fire use to inventions to leisure time. 

Going back to fire, though, I think it's very relevant to cave dwelling. I am personally convinced that the big attraction of a cave was the ease of keeping a fire going for long periods, which was surely a lifesaver to Neanderthals. If you picture the problems that they faced, in the absence of a cave, in keeping a fire going 24/7 in the very worst winter weather, you can get an idea of what difference a cave would make.

It's so easy for us to throw wood in a shed, it's hard to imagine what it would be like for them. Your fuel could be soaking wet for weeks on end, and there can be torrential storms that would blow your fire away, and douse it. A cave makes it all so much easier. No high winds, no downpours, and your stored firewood dries out fairly rapidly.

If they had the technology to light fires at will, then caves wouldn't be so vital. But it seems to be highly unlikely that they did. It's more likely that, if they lost their fire, they would have some technique of carrying smouldering embers, so they could maybe send someone to the next settlement, to get fire, and carry it back long distances as a smokey bundle, eventually getting fire restarted at home.

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31 minutes ago, mistermack said:

No, we've jumped from fire use to inventions to leisure time. 

Going back to fire, though, I think it's very relevant to cave dwelling. I am personally convinced that the big attraction of a cave was the ease of keeping a fire going for long periods, which was surely a lifesaver to Neanderthals. If you picture the problems that they faced, in the absence of a cave, in keeping a fire going 24/7 in the very worst winter weather, you can get an idea of what difference a cave would make.

It's so easy for us to throw wood in a shed, it's hard to imagine what it would be like for them. Your fuel could be soaking wet for weeks on end, and there can be torrential storms that would blow your fire away, and douse it. A cave makes it all so much easier. No high winds, no downpours, and your stored firewood dries out fairly rapidly.

If they had the technology to light fires at will, then caves wouldn't be so vital. But it seems to be highly unlikely that they did. It's more likely that, if they lost their fire, they would have some technique of carrying smouldering embers, so they could maybe send someone to the next settlement, to get fire, and carry it back long distances as a smokey bundle, eventually getting fire restarted at home.

Well, I rather meant what exactly irish people/people of irish descent specifically do in their leisure time is beside the point of this thread since destilling alcohol to high concentrations wasn't a widespread technology 175000 years ago ;-)

It is quite likely that H. Heidelbergensis who are the likely antecedents of H. Neanderthal and possibly H. Sapien's and H. Neandertal's latest common ancestor, already knew how to construct shelters of organic materials, which could keep a fire safe, since caves were notoriously dangerous because of Cave Bears. That doesn't mean early humans wouldn't have ever used caves for their convenience, and even long term habitation once they were sure that no dangerous predators lurked within. So technically I'm not contradicting you, just opening up more avenues for the debate

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1 hour ago, YaDinghus said:

Have you been to college?

Yes I have.

I was awarded an AB Degree with a Major in the Biological Sciences and a Minor in the Physical Sciences, ….. @ GSC in 63'.

1 hour ago, YaDinghus said:

He properly cited research papers from established anthropology articles and books.

That doesn't impress me in the least. "Consensus of opinions" is neither science fact or evidence.

1 hour ago, mistermack said:

The winters are long with short days, and the enforced leisure time can last weeks on end.

 Now that's a prime example of why there would be no need or desire for "inventing" something to "get the job done quicker".

Don't be fergettin that western Europeans have been given credit for inventing things ….. that the Chinese had been using for hundreds of years. (paper making, printing press. gunpowder, the compass, mechanical clocks)   

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5 minutes ago, SamCogar said:
2 hours ago, YaDinghus said:

Have you been to college?

Yes I have.

I was awarded an AB Degree with a Major in the Biological Sciences and a Minor in the Physical Sciences, ….. @ GSC in 63'.

2 hours ago, YaDinghus said:

He properly cited research papers from established anthropology articles and books

 

2 hours ago, SamCogar said:

And you accepted that as a literal fact without questioning your instructor's wild accusations that he/she would have no knowledge whatsoever about the daily life of Neolithic hunter/gathers.   

Still shooting your own leg.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_affluent_society

Quote

At the time of the symposium new research by anthropologists, such as Richard B. Lee's work on the !Kung of southern Africa, was challenging popular notions that hunter-gatherer societies were always near the brink of starvation and continuously engaged in a struggle for survival. Sahlins gathered the data from these studies and used it to support a comprehensive argument that states that hunter-gatherers did not suffer from deprivation, but instead lived in a society in which "all the people's wants are easily satisfied."

I ain't got the time or the inclination to look for all the relevant sources my professor used back in the day, but the wikipedia article should give you an idea of the concept

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On ‎7‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 10:29 AM, YaDinghus said:

Still shooting your own leg.

You wish.

Quote

 

On ‎7‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 9:33 AM, YaDinghus said:

Back in the day in anthropology classes, especially in prehistoric economy, we learned that hunter/gatherers only need(ed) to spend 2-4 hours a day on average to get the food they needed to do more than survive.

 

 

YaDinghus, if that is what you want to believe, ….. then that’s OK with me.

 

But ya see, Dinghus, I have a problem with your above stated claim of “average 2-4 hours a day” for gathering all the food that the small groups of human hunter/gatherers needed to keep from any member being hungry.

 

My problem is the fact that all population increases in “social animal” groups (aka: human hunter/gathers) are directly correlated to/with the “food supply” said groups have access to.

 

And human populations never really began increasing until after the hunter/gatherers settled down to become herders, farmers and fishermen.   

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19 hours ago, SamCogar said:

But ya see, Dinghus, I have a problem with your above stated claim of “average 2-4 hours a day” for gathering all the food that the small groups of human hunter/gatherers needed to keep from any member being hungry.

 

My problem is the fact that all population increases in “social animal” groups (aka: human hunter/gathers) are directly correlated to/with the “food supply” said groups have access to.

 

And human populations never really began increasing until after the hunter/gatherers settled down to become herders, farmers and fishermen.   

The limiting factor isn't the day-to-day food supply. It's the periods of famine. You only need one period of famine every ten years to wipe out a population. If your hunting and gathering can all be done in a few hours, under normal circumstance, that doesn't mean that your population is not at risk.

Storing food was what enabled populations to expand. It gets you (or some of you) through the lean times. Farming can produce grains for storage. Cattle herding removes your reliance on the wild herd. And fish can be dried and smoked for storage. That's what enables populations to expand.

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On ‎7‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 9:27 AM, mistermack said:

The limiting factor isn't the day-to-day food supply.

 

The “day-to-day food supply” has always been a “limiting” factor in controlling the increase in animal population numbers.

 

Especially the land based animals that acquire 97+% of their daily food needs from land-based sources ….. simply because most plant-based food sources are produced on a “seasonal cycle” and thus are not available 24/7/365. So, its “feast or famine” on a daily or a seasonal “cycle”. No Garden-of-Eden to be found anywhere.

 

And droughts, severe storms and/or natural disasters just adds “insults to injury” making survival more haphazardly.

 

And don’t forget, there is tremendous competition, for suitable real estate, between the various “food producing” plants, be they the same or different species. And said competition limits both the variety and quantity of food being produced, which in turn instigates tremendous competition between the different groups of “hunter-gathers” that are dependent upon said “food source”.

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  • 1 year later...

Here some Youtube videos, all lengthy and in French, but less arid than science publications and with informative images:

UpJ9bArJSXA by Arte, not found in German, many images on the site.

HcyPmCqupi0 conference by Jacques Jaubert filmed in October 2016, Bruniquel begins at 0h30. Proposes water storage at 1h12min37s.

bXYjc62X0n4 uploaded on May 27, 2016 >:D tells "resembles a dam" at 01min30 but "go deep in cave not for dietary reasons but for religion" at 06min41 :D.
The construction resembles so much a dam that it still retains water.

0JP0NqSXZSw Sophie Verheyden explains the context and logic, especially the dating.

The team's preferred explanation for the fires is lighting, which must be obvious to anyone going to caves. They experimented that fat in bones burns once a wood fire has heated it, and it gives a clear and stable flame with less fumes, better than wood does. I wonder if a wick in fat avoids the wood phase as it does with oil. But a wick doesn't explain the clear effects of heat observed at the stalagmites.

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  • 1 year later...

Ramblings by a non-expert here. I just wonder how many Sapiens sapiens groups lived in Europe unnoticed from present science.

Remains from about 300 Neanderthalensis have been found in Europe. If 1 Homo in 300 was a Sapiens sapiens, chances are fair that none has been discovered up to now. And if one is discovered some day, maybe archaeologists will re-attribute some remains that comprise a single phalanx.

How many Neanderthalensis populated Europe is unknown. Experts cite figures like 70 000. If the subspecies inhabited Europe for 200ky and individuals lived for 20y as a mean, then 700 000 000 individuals lived on the continent over the period. The Sapiens sapiens could amount to 2 000 000 over the period, without any remains discovered.

I just find it hard to imagine Sapiens sapiens sitting on the now-Marocco coast for 250 000 years, seeing Europe, and not crossing the straits. But maybe their mentality, culture and technology differed so much from now.

Edited by Enthalpy
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The researchers saw fire traces on the construction in the Bruniquel cave. As cave explorers, they naturally suggest "light" as the reason to make fire, just as, as a backpacker, I naturally suggest "drinking water" as a reason for the construction.

The location is near a rain zone, not where I'd put lighting fires. The fires are also about knee-high, which is a drawback as a light source. This leaves many dark zones in the cave, and it dazzles the users. Light sources sit better above our heads, as in our houses, to illuminate the ground where we walk. The planners and builder of the construction could have attached lighting fires high at stalagmites.

Was the construction made to keep fire? Bushmen keep fire using pieces of wood like cigars, and the antique Rome had temples to keep and distribute fire, easier than igniting it. The construction was far from wind, animals and bad weather, it had walls to keep oil or fat, and wicks at the sides, where we see char. But I'm not convinced.

  • Why so deep in the cave?
  • Why so huge? Leave the fire in spring, find it in autumn?
  • Why a location where water drops?

I prefer my water reservoir theory. Deep in the cave for year-round supply, under water drops, proper size. Clay or similar made a water-tight wall, fire hardened clay, we see burnt stalagmites where clay was thin or absent. But how to test this?

Maybe the calcite layer deposited years or decades after the construction contains evidence. It would be very thin: 175mm in 175 000 years make 1µm/year. The analysis methods may detect atoms, possibly isotopes, rather than compounds.

  • Stronger clay concentration in the calcite layer would suggest the constructors brought it on the stalagmites.
  • A composition not found nearby would suggest the constructors brought clay from an other location.
  • A comparison with stalagmites elsewhere in the cave is less sensitive to more recent floods.
  • Would isotopes tell if clay was brought in the cave? 14C fails at 175 000 years.

I hope someone finds better tests.

Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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Re-Enthalpy.

Where do you think they obtained the knowledge to do that , certainly not solely from Darwin . I believe hole hearted that there had to have been an outside influence ( extraterrestrials ) there is no other explanation for our advancements to date.

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Fun: bone powder is sometimes included in clay to make ceramic.
  fr.wikipedia (in French, sorry)
More generally, organic materials strengthen ceramics fired at too low temperature.

Please double-check, I know zilch about pottery.

==========

Hi Mark Gregson, thanks for your interest!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Other speculative uses for the construction. Access may have been easier then, before sediments accumulated.

==========

A warm bath or a sauna, using hot stones maybe. In a cave, less cold than outside during that ice age, and far from wild animals when the users took their shoes off. Deep in the cave because water dropped there.

The constructors could also wash their clothes and shoes there. If having only one set, they would cherish the safety and relative warmth.

==========

A pot to cook vegetables. Meat can be grilled, some nourishing vegetables can't. Manioc, American pea grow naturally in South America (I didn't search for European examples) so cooking can predate agriculture.

Why so deep in the cave? Water available there, like one litre per person and per meal, saves only a feasible transport effort. The location protects also the meal from competing humans and animals.

==========

A pot to tan animal skins with bark to make rot-proof leather? Yes, this is technology. But they attached sharp stones to a shaft or handle, which needs more invention and effort.

Again, running water is a comfort, protection by the cave is useful.

But imagine the constructors hunted sheep-sized game. Two animal skins dress one adult Homo. The 50kg meat feed that human for 100 days, a bit more with vegetable side dishes. So people could replace the animal skin as these rotted, with some sewing effort.

==========

A grill? If wood was scarce then, the constructors would have burned grease, better in a pot. A cave protects against wind, cold, animals - but why so deep in the cave and where water drips?

==========

A site to cut up the hunted animals? Separate the meat, skin, bones, tendons, guts takes times, cleaning takes more. You don't do that in the living room, outside there were animals and it was often cold. Running water seems necessary, better deep in the cave than at the river. Drawbacks: such sites may already be known, not in caves, and for big game, much is done before the transport.

==========

I still prefer the reservoir of reliable drinking water, as it answers a vital need.

Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/6/2021 at 11:02 PM, Mark Gregson said:

[...] extraterrestrials [...]

Good opportunity to warn everyone here that when a psychiatrist investigates a target person, he uses intermediates on the street, the Internet, and among the relations, to conduct tests. These intermediates are sometimes other customers, or often accomplices of the secret police.

Among the recurring tests, at least in France and Germany, are the opinions about extraterrestrials.

Presently, nearly every astronomer, every scientist supposes that extraterrestrials exist. But for psychiatrists, who have as much to do with science as fish with rollerblades, believing that extraterrestrials exist is a sign of madness.

==========

Dear Mark, even if most sensible persons suppose that ET exist, a visit of Earth by ET is not the same. Distances are vast, and there are many planets.

All species learn and evolve, not only hominids. Apes, some birds... learn and transmit behaviours or tools that are not determined by the genes. A bonobo can learn a new tool from an other group and teach it to its group, after which this knowledge is part of the group's culture.

If you observe the intelligence of some cats, of ravens, octopuses, dolphins... it's not so far from what Sapiens are capable of, and they need no intervention from ET, as we can observe.

So maybe ET visited Earth, maybe they transmitted some knowledge, but I would need evidence they did it to believe it, rather than lack of evidence they didn't.

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  • 3 months later...

The cueva de Ardales contains a tall stalagmite group tainted by ochre brought from outside the cave at several distant epochs corresponding to Neanderthals. The researchers suggest "art", "symbolic" and "mythological".
    cnn - scitechdaily - phys.org

I see similarities with the construction in Bruniquel:

  • Water dripping there.
  • Stalagmites. In the cueva de Ardales, the natural arrangement needed little effort to make a watertight wall of it.
  • Ochre too served as a mastic, and also in adhesives.

Ochre had uses beyond its pigment function:
    pnas.org - citeseerx.ist.psu.edu

The reservoir hypothesis depends much on water dripping to the center of the stalagmites group. Did the concretion domes leave openings?

I wish analysis from Bruniquel samples tell whether the stalagmites colours incorporate clay, especially the yellow and orange that don't look obviously charred like the black.

Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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