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Neanderthal riggers

April 14, 2020

Neanderthals made cord and rope, now proven by a bit found in a French cave forty thousand years old. (Cite.) Anthropologists suspected as much, because otherwise what are they doing with eyed awls? The problem is that most everything made tens of thousands of years past used animal or plant as the basic material, and long since has decomposed:

With a few exceptions such as the Schöningen spears and the recent finds of wooden tools at Pogetti Vecchi, almost all of our knowledge about the Middle Paleolithic comes from durable materials (bones and stone tools). We know from observations of our own surroundings, ethnographic and ethnohistoric accounts that most of the material culture of humans (and Neanderthals) is comprised of perishable materials. Hurcombe has called this problem “the missing majority”.

Riggers are a clever lot. Even if many of them seem a bit Neanderthal. Give them an inch, and they’ll stretch it:

Twisted fibres provide the basis for clothing, rope, bags, nets, mats, boats, etc. which, once discovered, would have become an indispensable part of daily life.

Nets for fishing. As shown in Monet’s painting, right. And if you’re clever enough to make things with cord and awls, and you’re living off the land, I suspect you soon are rowing your stuff around in a canoe, rather than lugging it all the time.

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