The first human dwelling with fire, tools and decorations appeared about 2 million years ago. It is located in South Africa, inside the Vanderwerk Cave. This place has long been of interest to archaeologists, because at one time quite a few instruments were found there that belonged to our distant ancestors.
Only here the skeletons of ancient people are not there – most likely, the bones were scattered by wild animals. Scientists have almost no doubt that the African cave is one of the very first human dwellings, because recently they have found very convincing evidence of this. Within the framework of this article, I propose to find out why archaeologists are so confident in their words and how the life of the inhabitants of the cave could look like. I will only say in advance that the dwelling was quite warm and very beautiful for those times.
The very first dwelling of people
The Vanderwerk Cave, more than 140 meters deep, has long been a site of archaeological work. So, in 2008, a group of scientists led by Michael Chazan (Michael Chazan) managed to find some of the most ancient stone tools created by our distant ancestors. Their age was estimated at 2 million years, which is not so surprising – science already knows tools made as much as 2.6 million years ago. However, these ancient devices were found in forests and fields, but a new (at that time) find was made inside a once inhabited cave.
It is logical to assume that if the instruments are 2 million years old, then the cave should have become inhabited around the same time. So at one time scientists made a very loud discovery – they found the most ancient living quarters in the history of mankind. Moreover, this dwelling was created not by people in the literal sense of the word (representatives of the species Homo), but by Australopithecines. So it is customary to call fossil primates who knew how to walk upright and had human facial features.
The 2008 discovery was questioned by other archaeologists. Recently, however, Michael Chazan and another group of researchers have reassessed the age of the instruments found inside Vanderwerk. It turned out that the objects are from 1.77 to 1.93 million years old, that is, scientists were initially close to the truth. Scientists also proved that the tools were created and used inside the cave – they could not be brought in by water flows, wind and other natural phenomena.
The very first bonfire in history
The tools were created long before the first fire appeared in the cave. Inside Vanderwerk, archaeologists have managed to find traces of a fire that burned about 1 million years ago. It was located about 30 meters from the cave entrance, thanks to which it was clearly warm in the depths of the cave. In addition, such a deep location suggests that the scientists found the fire, and not the consequences of a natural fire. Previously, scientists managed to find traces of fire about 1.5 million years old, but some researchers believe that these are just the remains of a forest fire. So the bonfire found inside Vanderwerk may also be the oldest in history.
In addition to all of the above, pieces of ocher were found inside the cave. This is the name of the natural pigment, which consists of iron oxide and clay. Usually, ocher has a yellow tint, the difference is only in the brightness of the color. According to the calculations of archaeologists, the dye got inside the cave about 300,000 years ago and it was clearly brought by people. Since ocher is completely useless as a tool of labor, scientists believe that the dye was used to decorate the cave. Ancient people could wipe various objects with them or even create drawings. However, no traces of ancient images have been found inside Vanderwerk.