40,000 BP

The sudden appearance in the archeological record of more sophisticated stone and bone tools is the indicator of the start of a new level of technological creativity. This is the transition between early modern humans and modern humans.

Within just 10,000 years we get evidence of artwork in the cave paintings, development of jewellery and personal ornamentation, musical instruments, habitation of sophisticated constructed shelters, basketwork and the making of nets, and long-distance trade.

Even the conventional archaeologists acknowledge that there was a sudden explosion of innovative change n the artefacts left by humans in the period between 40,000 and 30,000 BP.

With sea-level 200-300 feet lower than current sea-level it is likely that many of the main sites where the Aurignacian culture developed are now lost to us, but we fortunately have the original discoveries at Aurignac, the paintings in the Chauvet cave, Hohle Fels and bake Kiro caves, the Ksar Aki site and probably most importantly, Dolni Vestonice.

Dolni Vestonice was a settlement used to hunt mammoths. Excavations there have revealed the foundations of huts, imprints of basketwork and nets, baked clay figurines and perhaps most interestingly, shells that came from the Mediterranean, 400 miles away. This implies either travel by the community over big distances or more likely the existence of trade networks.

New and fascinating information about this period continues to emerge, such as evidence of the bones of small mammals such as stoat as well as those of food animals. This suggests that they had a need to capture and use something from these animals that they could not get from the larger animals. This may well have been their very much finer fur and this in turn suggests they were making much more sophisticated clothing than other hominins. Fur linings on sleeves and hoods would make clothing that enabled them to hunt better in bad weather, when it may well have been much easier to get close to and snare or net large animals.

The other hominins that co-existing alongside early modern humans did not have any comparable explosion of technological and artistic creativity.

With this extremely rapid development of human societies happening in what was a relatively cold part of the world, on the plains and steppes between the Northern ice sheets and the lower forest-covered latitudes, we have to wonder what these clever people achieved in warmer climes. What kind of societies and settlements did the people in the Mediterranean have, those who exported the shells to Dolni Vestonice?

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