Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ancient Drills (c. 35,000 B.C.E)

Early humans learn how to bore small holes.

It is thought that early man used a primitive drill - perhaps a modified spear - to pierce wood and animal skins. Much later, the woodworker of ancient Egypt refined this technique by making any necessary holes with a bow drill. Adapted from the fire-stick, it had a cord wrapped round it and was held taut with a bow. Holding the drill vertically, the operator moved the bow backward and forward, pressing downward on alternate turns, with an idle return stroke (There is also evidence of dental drilling from as long ago as 9000 B.C.E., accomplished by the same means.)
The Romans replaced the bow drill with the auger, but the bit frozen between turns. It was not until the Middle Ages that use of the carpenter's brace made continuous rotation fo the drill possible.

The term "drill" may either refer to the machine supplying the rotational energy needed for penetration, or to the "drill bit", which is the part that rotates and actually cuts into the material. Various kinds of drills have evolved to meet specific needs.

Any drill has the capicity to make small holes in wood or brick, but more powerful machines are required to create pipe-sized holes in masonry or metal. Modern drills include a chuck to grip the drill bits or simple attachements. Some drills have chucks that can be unscrewed in order to recieve larger attachments, such as sanding tools, wire brushes, grinding stones, and circular saws.

The tip of a drill bit is conical in shape with cutting edges. The fluted part, or body, of a drill is now usually made of hardened, high-carbon steel. The angle formed by the tapering sides of the point determines how large a chip is taken off with each rotation, The bit also has helical flutes, which affects the drill's cutting and chip-removal properties.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ancient Tally Stick (c. 35.000 B.C.E)

Counting makes its debut in Swaziland.

Tally sticks, or tallies batons of bone, ivory, wood, or stone into which notches are made as a mean of recoding numbers or even messages, The archeological and historical records are rich in tallies, with the Lembombo bone as the earliest example. Found in a cave in the Lembombo Mountains in Swaziland and made form a baboon's fibula, it dated back to 35,000 B.C.E. Its markings suggest that it is a lunar phase counter, indicating an appreciation of math far beyond simple counting.

Tally sticks became the primary accounting tool of medieval Europe, which was largely illiterate. During the 1100s King Henry I of England established the Exchequer to be responsible for the collection and management fo revenues. To keep track of taxds owned and paid, split tally sticks were employed. Usually made of squared hazel wood, notches were made the thickness of the palm of the hand to represent 1000 [pound], the thickness of a thumb for 100 [pound], a little finger for 10[pound], a swollen barley gran for 1[pound], and a thin score mark for a shilling. The notches would span the stick's width, which subsequently would be split so that both halves had the same markings, to avoid forgeries. The halves differed in length; the longer half, or stock, was for the person making the payment, hence "stockholder" and the shorter half, or foil, for the recipient of the money or goods.
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ancient Fishhook (c. 35,000 B.C.E.)

Early humans discover how to retain their caught fish.

The major problem with dating inventions earlier than the written word is that there are no first-hand accounts documenting their conception or use. Paleoarcheologists have the difficult task of piecing together the prehistory of man based on scraps of physical evidence left behind by our ancient ancistors. The fishhook is one such ingenious conception of early man and is probably more importanat to the success of humans than most of us would suspect.

The earliest examples of fishhooks so far found by archeologists date form around 35,000 B.C.E. Appearing well before the advent of metalworking, early fishhooks were faishoned from durable metarials of organic origin such as bones, shells. animal horn, and wood. With the addition of variety of baits on the hook, prehistoric man gained access, previously largely denied, to an easy source of energy loaded with protien and fat. Adding fish to his diet also ensured a healthy intake of essential fatty acids.

Over thousands fo years of the techonology of fishhooks has evovled to optimize prey attraction, retention and retrevai, The very earlier fishhooks of all are thought to hae been made from wood, although, being more perishable than those of bone or shells, very few examples of these primitivie hooks have survived. Wood might seem much too buoyant a material to be ideal for catching fish, but actually wooden hooks were used until the 19960s for catching species such as burbot.

Gaining easy access to adequate food supplies is thought to have been an essential foctor in the success of early man. To fish in fecund waters requires very little energy and time, and this enabled our ancestors to pursue other activities, meaning that they were able , not just to survive, but to prosper.

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Ancient Spear - (c. 400,000 B.C.E)

Humans learn to skill with sharpened poles.

The earliest example fo a sharpened wooden pole, or spear, comes from Schoningen in Germany. There, eight spears where dated to 400,000 B.C.E. The ancient hominid hunters who sharpened each pole used a filnt shaver to cut away the tip to form a pont and then signed the tip in the fire to harden the wood, making it a more effective weapon. A similar technique was used by hunters in Lehringen near Bremen in Germany, where a complete spear was found embedded inside a mammoth skeleton, suggesting such spears were  used mainly for  hunting rhather than warfare or self-defence. The need for food, was so great that a mommoth would be attacked with only a flimsy spear, altthough its use woeld have been more to scare the mammoth in the direction of a trap or pit dug previously than to attack it directly.

Arround 60,000 B.C.E., Neanderthals living in rock shelters and temporary hunting camps in France sharpened small preces of flint and slotted them into the tips of their spears. HUnters in the Sahara used the Sharpened stones in the same way, while CEntral Americans used obsidian, a natural volcanic glass. Around the world, Stone Age people gradually learned how to learn small stones or flints into tiny, sharpened blades known as microliths for use as a spear points. The greatest advance, however, came with the development of metalworking, notably copper in southeast Europe after 5000 B.C.E., followed by bronze, and allory of copper and tin, around 2300 B.C.E., and then iron a millennium later. These new technologies allowed hunters and warriors to make hard, sharp, effective spear points.

"A spear-carrying Hittite warrior in a tenth-century B.C.E. relief form Carchemish on the Turkey-Syria border"
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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ancient Clothing - (c. 400,000 B.C.E)

Early humans cover their nakedness.

Around 400,000 years ago, Homo sapiens devised a solution to protect the vulnerable naked human body from the environment - clothes. Anthropologists believe the earliest clothing was made form the fur of hunted animals or leaves creatively wrapped around the body to keep out the cold, wind and rain.

Determining the date of this invention is difficult, although sewing needles made form animal bone dating from about 30,000 B.C.E have been found by arceheologists. However, genetic analysis  of human body lice reveals that they evolved at the same time as clothing. Scientists originally thought the lice evovled 107,000 years ago, but further investigations placed their evolution a few hundred thousand years earlier.

Clothing has changed dramatically over the century, although its ancient role as an outward indication of the status, wealth, and belief of the warrior in as important as ever. During the industrial revolution the textile industry was the first to be mechanised, enabling incerasingly elaborate designs to be made at a faste rate. In the 21st century, mechanization has allowed sophisticated pratical clothing to be deviced to protect us from dangerous such as extreme whether, chemicals, insects, and outer space. Without clothe we would not have able to explore and exploit our world and the surrounding univese to the extent that we have.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ancient Built Shelter - (c. 400,000 B.C.E)

Homo heidbergensis builds the first hut.

The earliest evidence of built shelter appears to have been constructed by "homo heidbergensis", who lived in Europe between around 800,000 B.C.E. Anthropologists are uncertain whether these were ancestors of Homo sapiens (Humans) or Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) or both.

At the french site of Terra Amata, which dated back around 400,000 years, archeologists have found what they believe to be the foundations of large oval huts. One of these shows evidence fo fire in a hearth. although other archeologists potulate that natural processes could be responsible. Archeology on sites from hundreds of thousands of years ago is complicated. Claims of the discovery of built shelters in Japan from more than 500,000 years ago were discredited in 2000. In fact, all the evidences for humans in Japan before 35,000 years ago is currently questionable.
We do know that our ancestors spent time in caves for hundreds of thousands of years. But caves are only found in certain areas. Whether they started building 100,000 or 400,000 years ago, their ability to create shelters close to food, water and other resources provided our ancestor with protection anainst the elements and dangerous animals. Living close to work also gave them more time to experiment with different ways of doing thigs; in other words, to to invent.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ancient Controlled Fire - (c. 1,42,000 B.C.E)

Homo erectus harness lightning

Fire is an essential tool, control of which helped tostart the human race on its path to civilization. The original source of fire was probably lightning, and for generation blazes ignited in this manner remained the only source of fire.
Initially Peking man, who lived around 500,000 B.C.E, was believed to be earliest user of fire, but evidence uncovered in Kenya in 1981, and in South Africa in 1988, suggests that the earliest controlled use of fire by hominids dates from about 1,420,000 years ago. Fire were kept alive permanently because of the difficulty of reigniting them, being allowed to burn by day and damped soen at night, Flint struck against pyrites or friction methods were the most widespread methods of producing fire among primitive people.

The first human beings to control fire used it to keep warm, cook their food, and ward off predators. It also enabled them to survive in regions previously too cold for man habitation. They also used it in "fire drives" to force animals or enemies out of hiding. Controlled fire was important in clearing forest for roadways, grasslands and grazing, and agricultural lands - uncontrolled, the fire destroyed the potential of the soil. Mastering fire also opened up the possibilities of smelting metals, enabling humankind to escape the limitations of the Stone Age.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Ancient Stone Tools - (c. 2,600,000 B.C.E)

Every humankind ushers in the age of inventions.

The very first human invention consisted of sharp flints, found and used in their natural state by primitive peoples, who then went on to purposely sharpen stones. The practice reaches back to the very dawn of humankind; stone tools found in 1969 in kenya are estimated to be 2,600,000 years old.
The principal types of tools, which appeared in the Paleolithic period, and varied in size and apperance , are known as core, flake, and blade tools.
The core tools are the largest and most primitive, and were made by working on a fist-sized piece of rockor stone with a similar rock and knocking large flakes off one side to produce a sharp crest, This was a general-purpose implement used fo hacking, pounding, or cutting , Eventually, thinner and sharper core tools were developed, which were more useful. Much later, especially during the last 10,000 years of the stone age , other techniques of producing stone artifacts-including pecking, grinding, sawing, and boring - come into play.

The evolution of tool making enabled early humankind to complete many tasks previously impossible or accomplished only very crudely, Animals could be skinned, defleshed, and the meat divided up with stone cutters, cleavers, and choopers. Clothing was made from animal hides cleaned with rough stones scrapers and later punctured with awls. Hunting became more efficient with spreadheads fashioned from stone flakes, And with the aid of stone adzes (axes), early humankind could create shelter and begin to shape the physical world to its liking,

Stone age humans became adept at chipping flakes of hard, volcanic rocks to make tools and weapons.

"The best materials...include absidian (a form of natural glass) chert, flint, and chalcedony".
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