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воскресенье, 12 апреля 2020 г.

Neanderthal cord weaver

Contrary to popular belief, Neanderthals were no less technologically advanced than Homo sapiens. An international team, including researchers from the CNRS, have discovered the first evidence of cord making, dating back more than 40,000 years, on a flint fragment from the prehistoric site of Abri du Maras in the south of France. Microscopic analysis showed that these remains had been intertwined, proof of their modification by humans. 

Neanderthal cord weaver
Photograph of the cord fragment taken by digital microscopy (the fragment is
approximately 6.2 mm long and 0.5 mm wide) [Credit: © C2RMF]

Photographs revealed three bundles of twisted fibres, plied together to create one cord. In addition, spectroscopic analysis revealed that these strands were made of cellulose, probably from coniferous trees. This discovery highlights unexpected cognitive abilities on the part of Neanderthals, who not only had a good understanding of the mathematics involved in winding the fibres, but also a thorough knowledge of tree growth. These results, published in Scientific Reports, represent the oldest known proof of textile and cord technology to date.

Neanderthal cord weaver
SEM photo of Neanderthal cord from Abri du Maras
[Credit: M-H. Moncel]

Neanderthal cord weaver
Close-up of modern flax cordage showing tisted fibre construction
[Credit: S. Deryck]

Neanderthal cord weaver
Modern cordage made from grass.  Twisted fibres can form the basis of rope,
nets, fabric, and clothing [Credit: B. Hardy]

The following laboratories contributed to this work: Histoire naturelle de l'Homme prehistorique (CNRS/Museum national d'Histoire naturelle/Universite de Perpignan Via Domitia), De la molecule aux nano-objets : reactivite, interactions et spectroscopies (CNRS/Sorbonne Universite), along with the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musees de France (ministere de la Culture).

Neanderthal cord weaver
Excavation of Abri du Maras [Credit: M-H. Moncel]

The excavations at the Abri du Maras have in particular benefited from funding from the French Ministry of Culture and the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Regional Archaeology Service.

* This article was originally published here

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