Thursday, November 30, 2006
Oslo, Norway, November 30 (UPI): Breaking News - A Norwegian archaeologist has found what might be the African site of mankind's oldest ritual - a discovery said to change our knowledge of human history.
University of Oslo Associate Professor Sheila Coulson* and colleagues say their discovery in northwest Botswana means Homo sapiens began performing advanced rituals in Africa about 70,000 years ago.
The archaeologists made the discovery while searching for artifacts from the Middle Stone Age in the only hills for hundreds of miles in any direction. The group of small peaks within the Kalahari Desert is known as the Tsodilo Hills and is famous for having the largest concentration of rock paintings in the world.
Original (but short) news report at "Major African archaeological find reported"
UPDATE: A fuller news report can be found here
*Info on Sheila Coulson and the Basarwa Project:
For the past six years Sheila Coulson has been actively involved as an archaeologist in the Collaborative Programme for Basarwa Research; a cooperative venture with the University of Botswana. The aim of this long-term project is to address the position of the indigenous population of Botswana , in this case the Basarwa, also know as the San or Bushman. Continued funding from the Norwegian Universities' Committee for Development Research (NUFU - grant NUFU PRO 20/96) has supported the investigations of researchers from diverse backgrounds in sociology, anthropology, history and archaeology, language and law.
For the archaeologists this program has provided a unique opportunity to work directly with colleagues from the University of Botswana on issues related to the Basarwa, one of the most famous but little known hunter/gatherer groups in the world. The research field area is centred around the Okavango Delta, a vast inland water system located in northern Botswana . Initial archaeological enquiries were linked with the anthropological investigations: these focused on the present Basarwa inhabitants. But in the 2000 and 2001 field seasons the archaeological section shifted their prime area of attention from the dynamic and rapidly changing wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the more stable environment of the outer lying Greater Okavango. The numbers of archaeological sites located due to this change of focus immediately demonstrated the wisdom of this decision. [More] [Europe, Science]
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