How far back do we have documented?

Discussion in 'History' started by Crcata, May 17, 2016.

  1. Sylvester Registered Senior Member

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    50 to 100 years.
     
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  3. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

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    deleted
     
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  5. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

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    Have you got a link river? When I google ''450,000 year old clay tablets'', I get links to ancient spacemen sites.
     
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    ROFL.
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Sorry, are you asserting that we don't have documentation of events in the early 20th century?
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Probably a bit older than that. People have been examining ruins for centuries, especially those that go back to the Bronze Age. The discovery of bronze metallurgy (an alloy of copper and tin, somewhat stronger and therefore more useful than either metal alone) was a major shift in the way humans lived.

    Although copper and tin were used individually, it was bronze that led humanity into an extremely different kind of life.

    Just one example will illustrate this: Neolithic craftsmen were experts in the creation and use of sharpened rocks. However, it was impossible to build a blade out of stone. The discovery of metal changed all that. The Bronze Age craftsmen could build blades that were thin, straight and strong. Using this technology, they were able to build something that they understood but could not build out of rock: the wheel.

    They had already domesticated beasts of burden. But the ability to strap a cart behind them, and let them pull heavy loads over long distances, was a game-changer. Commerce among communities that were a little too far away to visit by walking were suddenly accessible. Trading ideas accelerated the rate of the advance of civilization.
     
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    [QUOTE="Fraggle Rocker, post: 3404961, member: 7718" it was impossible to build a blade out of stone....[/QUOTE]

    Stone blades are sharper than surgical steel.
     
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. For one cut.
     
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Resharpening ain't all that difficult once you've mastered the skill.
    One must also resharpen steel often.
     
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The wheel predates bronze - the Aztecs, who never made it to the bronze age, made lots of things with not only wheels but axles - a nontrivial innovation. Mostly we have children's toys as examples. They did not make carts and the like, probably because they did not have draft animals or suitable terrain for the necessary roads.

    The Aztecs also made what amounted to a broadsword for combat - a light, thin wooden paddle with obsidian blades set into its edge. According to Spanish accounts they were lethal - they cut better than the Spanish steel blades, and weighed less for their size. They're flaw was breaking against metal armor. It was apparently the Spanish metal armor, not their metal weaponry, that gave them hand combat advantage (and the horses, cannon, etc, otherwise).

    Basically, anyone who can make a boat can make a wheel - but they aren't all that useful in most circumstances.


    More than one cut, depending on application. Up until recently the best microtome blades in the best US pathology labs were flaked from obsidian or similar industrial glass - they were treated with care and lasted many cuts, because they could not be resharpened and required skill and trouble to make.
     
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  14. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    DaveC would do well to read up on flint knapping.

    Points and scrapers can be retouched, but blades from blade cores can't: They're too fragile for hard use, being very fine edges.

    iceaura: Macuahuitl is the Nahuatl name for the sword, and good call.
     
  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Conceded.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Huh??? There were several thriving civilizations with written languages 3,000 years ago! Fast-forward a bit and you've got the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Phoenicians, Chinese, Olmecs and several other folks who were diligently recording their own histories.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    You mean the Olmecs, not the Aztecs. It was the Olmecs who developed the Mesoamerican civilization--which was taken over by the Mayans, and eventually by the Aztecs, and finally by the Christian marauders. There is evidence of Aztecs developing copper metallurgy, although since there were civilizations all over the Western Hemisphere by this time, they might have been taught by Inca explorers.
    Only the Incas had domesticated draft animals: the llama. The large herbivores in North America--bison, moose, mountain goats--were a little too big and feisty to domesticate. When the Europeans landed in what is now the USA, the largest domesticated animal was the turkey! (The Mexicans had dogs, but they were almost certainly brought over by Chinese explorers.)
    Everywhere where the wheel was invented, the tools used to construct them were made of metal. Stone blades simply cannot be made straight enough and thin enough to provide the precision necessary for a wheel to be more-or-less perfectly round and more-or-less perfectly flat.

    Going back to the problem of draft animals, I'm one of many who wonder why the people in the northern latitudes of North America never tried to domesticate the caribou. It is called the "reindeer" on the other side of the globe, and has been used for transportation for a long, long time.
     
  18. river Valued Senior Member

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    We can go back at least 6000yrs. To Sumer .
     
  19. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    25000 years ago

    who was this guy?
     
  20. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No, I meant the Aztecs - who invented the wheel and made things with wheels and axles, without metal tools.
    Not among the Aztecs, or a couple of others.

    You mean everywhere the wheel was employed to roll carts pulled by draft animals, grind grain, etc.
    One doesn't necessarily use blades at all - grinding stones, as in manufacturing mill wheels, work just fine. Metal is not necessary.
    The llama is not a rewarding draft animal. They don't even make good riding animals - too frail, too small. The large herbivores in North America that remained after the Great Extinction event following human arrival are very difficult and not very rewarding to domesticate, for both physical and social reasons - their close relatives elsewhere are not domesticated either. This has little to do with being too large - in other parts of the world full size camels and elephants and horses and the like were domesticated easily.
    Most contemporary accounts describe the indigenous Reds encountered by Whites as having dogs, everywhere in North America, from very long ago. Modern genetic studies bear this out as a likelihood. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_dogs Apparently, most of these dogs were extinguished with their human companions, (and the resident wolves, etc), but a few - the Carolina Dog perhaps the best known possibility in the Lower 48 - may still remain. http://wunc.org/post/carolina-dog-native-north-america-new-science-says-maybe#stream/0
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  21. river Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you suggest , 25000yrs ago ?
     
  22. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    I haven't encountered this information, but it certainly makes sense.

    DNA analysis of modern wolves and dogs, as well as the occasional discovery of a well-preserved specimen from long ago, indicates that the dog, Canis lupus familiaris, split off from the wolf, Canis lupus lupus, about 30,000 years ago, when our ancestors were still nomadic hunter-gatherers. The usual explanation is that the lazier members of a wolf pack couldn't resist the piles of perfectly good food that humans threw on the ground (we call it "garbage"). Humans tended to tolerate that since it made their camps less stinky, not to mention the dogs running off other scavengers which we really don't want living near our babies. The wolves soon realized that if they didn't try to eat the humans, they were welcome to hunt with us.

    Dogs don't have the stamina we have, so they can't chase prey for as long as we do, but once the prey is cornered, their teeth and claws make short work of bringing them down.

    Dogs are a social species like humans, and they typically obey the orders of the pack leader. A human with his size, cunning and fabulous hunting tools would easily have been appointed pack leader.

    The first (successful) human migration to the Western Hemisphere occurred roughly 10,000 years ago. By that time, virtually every human community on the entire planet had dogs (except, possibly, the Native Australians)--which by now have specific differences from wolves, both physically (they have smaller brains so they don't need as much meat in their diet) and psychologically (they form much larger packs than wolves and are quite happy to let a human be the leader).
     

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