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Israel’s Qesem cave is approx. 12 km east of Tel Aviv. At 420,000 to 220,000 years old, it is a lower Paleolithic site. Qesem cave has flint blades, scrapers, knives, as well as flakes and hammer stones. All stages of stool tool making has been found from the site. In 2010, archaeologists called it the the oldest evidence of modern humans, but in reality the Levantine Acheulian assemblages predating the Acheulo-Yabrudian were likely attributed to Homo erectus. The Mousterian industries, on the other hand and postdating the Acheulo-Yabrudian were made by both anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals.

Israel's Qesem Cave, where scientists just uncovered evidence of an ancient school. (Photo: Tel Aviv University)

Israel’s Qesem Cave, where scientists just uncovered evidence of an ancient school. (Photo: Tel Aviv University)

I recently stumbled upon this news article about Qesem cave, where there was a room within the southern portion of the cave complex that looks like a “stone tool making,” classroom, which is studied by Ella Assaf, the Tel Aviv University. She stated there was definitely a mechanism of knowledge transmission seen in this cultural heritage.

“This splitting process was pretty difficult, and you can tell when someone messed up. And the archaeologists found a lot of mess-ups in the cave. They also found a lot of expertly split pieces. Since they found both good and bad pieces together, the archaeologists think that teachers probably taught students how to make tools there.”

Rocks used to make ancient tools found at Israel's Qesem Cave. (Photo: Tel Aviv University)

Rocks used to make ancient tools found at Israel’s Qesem Cave. (Photo: Tel Aviv University)

I think its extremely challenging to prove that this particular room was in fact a systematic classroom of stone tool making as we understand modern classrooms today. It is without a doubt primates do have a way of transferring and teaching lithic technology, from chimps to modern humans, but to say it is a school in a modern sense is very hard to grasp. I think at the minimum I can state the Qesem cave ‘classroom’ shows there is a specific evidence of tradition seen.

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