Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Neanderthals Had Different Cultures With Different Brands Of Axe Handles

As described here.

Nowhere mentioned in this article is the ubiquitous "Neanderthal Tar" consisting of foaming bitumen and pine oil compounds that dried to a granite like polished finish that was originally molded around each and every one of these weapons to balance them for throwing and give them ergonomic handles specifically fitted to the user. No such tar has ever been discovered on Cro-Magnon weapons, which were so simple (wooden spears with heads cooked in a flame) that they could have been made by a child.

All they are showing you is a chipped stone here and it is easy to get the impression that a Neanderthal was using a flint as an axe when in fact this head was first mounted in the notched haft of a thick stick, wrapped with hemp rope to secure it and then dipped and custom molded by the user. The finished weapon would have looked like something out of a science fiction movie with just the sharp business end of the axe exposed. That is how misleading these articles are. The axe could have been thrown with deadly accuracy but it still would not have been sufficient against an army of opponents with simple spears as described above attacking from a distance.

A couple hundred thousand years later, all that reliably remains is the stone blade of the axe shown here.

The clear implication of all this is a division of labor and specialization. There would have been an expert in bubbling and mixing up this complex pitch for coating weapons with. Probably another guy chipping the flints. Men would have lined up to do the assembly. Hearing people argue whether or not the Neanderthals could speak is a major embarrassment for the idiot who would even ask a question like that. The question is not whether Neanderthals could speak. The real question to ask is this : how much proof is there that Cro-Magnons could speak articulately before they genocided the Neanderthal? I would say little to none. There is no evidence of anything in Cro-Magnon camps that testifies to anything other than primitive grunts and whistles. I am sure there would have been Neanderthals who could speak with the genteel aristocratic air of Gore Vidal going back 800,000 years or more. Or more.


njartist said...

'This indicates a strong mechanism of social learning within these two groups and says something about the stability and connectivity of the Neanderthal populations

They need to come out and say it: the Neanderthals had a master/apprentice system; it probably also means they had members of the community who specialized and may have been set aside to make these things.

njartist said...

Foamed bitumen:
"2 – 3 % bitumen water in 180 °C hot bitumen:
The bitumen expands 15 to 20 times its original volume."

This added to pine oil makes your Neanderthal tar.
So how do you make bitumen water? At the correct percentage?How do you know the right percentage
How do you make pine oil - which pine trees?
How do you determine the correct temperature of the bitumen?

Not all tribes could have had the resources available, nor the specialists; therefore, this implies trading over long distances. It implies trade routes, commerce, trades/tradesmen, and some sort of barter or money system.

It also means that caves were not the Neanderthals' main living quarters; probably not teepees either.

njartist said...

Sorry, forgot link to pdf on foamed bitumen.