Archaeologists have discovered evidence of pre-Neanderthals using spatial planning to their advantage. This was found in a cave more than 170,000 years ago in a recent study.
Optimal use of space by ancient people.
The Grotte du Lazaret, or Lazaret Cave, is considered an archaeological goldmine for the study of ancient humans. It contains many monuments, traces of Located on the outskirts of the town of Nice, southern France, excavations at the cave have revealed the construction of human shelters during the Stone Age lower – lasted from about three million years ago until 300,000 years ago. About 20,000 animal bones have been found inside the caves.
However, the ancient corpses here are more sparse. Relics found: skull fragments of the remains of an adult child, believed to be a mix of Homo heidelbergensis and a Neanderthal, proven to be 200,000 years old.
There may have been more than 30 different groups of people that temporarily settled in the cave at various times from the Lower Paleolithic, to Neanderthals and beyond.
A new study, published in January, shows that pre-Neanderthals were very strategic when building fireplaces, both to minimize exposure to smoke and maximize space for other activities. Space is used to the fullest extent without.
The first people to occupy the cave some 170,000 years ago realized the perfect place to make their fire, with new research showing that the fireplace remained in place for tens of thousands of years.
The study, published by a team from Tel Aviv University, concluded that the center of the cave was an ideal location for the use of fire.
Use the fire at the end of the cave.
However, ancient humans had other ideas.
Pre-Neanderthals put their fire in the back of a cave, seemingly balancing the danger of smoke inhalation with the importance of fire in everyday life. And indeed this plan is very effective.
Professor Barkai told Haaretz: “Here we show that the organization of space in the cave depends on the location of the fireplace: It is optimally placed and the rest of the space is built around it.
“It looks like they first decided where to put the fire and then it looks like they planned: Let’s make the meat here, hang the meat here to dry, and sleep there.”
Co-author Professor Ran Barkai said in a statement: “Our study shows that early humans, without sensors or simulations, were able to choose the perfect location for their fireplaces and The cave’s spatial management is as early as 170,000 years ago – long before the advent of modern humans in Europe.
“This ability reflects ingenuity, experience and planned action.”
The 28 layers of sediment in the Lazaret Cave have long been the subject of intense examination, with the Israeli team focusing specifically on the UA25 layer, which dates to between 170,000 and 150,000 years ago.
Using smoke exposure levels established by the World Health Organization, they came up with four active zones in each of the 16 suggested fireplace locations – the red zone would be unusable due to smoke density, the yellow area is suitable for short-term use, the green area will have little smoke, and finally the blue area will have no smoke.
The UA25’s sole fireplace is located in the “optimal 270 quare-foot” area of the cave, the researchers say.
While other sedimentary layers have many layers of sediment, Professor Barkai “always has a layer in that ideal location”.
Sarah Hlubik, an archaeologist and paleontologist who studies the origins of fire use in ancestral groups of humans, says the experiment demonstrates how clever ancient humans were in responding. with a climate far different from that of southern France in 2022.
Rabbits are the main diet.
While the typical expectation is that Neanderthals might have eaten large animals, or stabbed the flesh of a woolly mammoth, archaeological evidence in caves near Lazaret Cave suggests rabbits were a food staple of the ancient diet.
A 2019 study, published in the journal Science Advances, examined animal bones at eight sites in the south of France.
Eugene Morin, an anthropologist at Canada’s Trent University, said at the time: “Many of the early Neanderthal sites sometimes contained 80, 90 percent rabbits.