Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's irritated me for a long time when our ancestors were referred to

as 'ignorant' and 'savages' and such. Ignorant of, say, metallurgy? Sure. Physics? Yeah. But they tend to mean ignorant as 'stupid'. And if they'd been stupid, A: we wouldn't be here and B: we wouldn't find things like this:
An archaeologist from The Australian National University has uncovered the world’s oldest evidence of deep sea fishing for big fish, showing that 42,000 years ago our regional ancestors had mastered one of our nation’s favourite pastimes.

Professor Sue O’Connor of the College of Asia and the Pacific at ANU, also found the world’s earliest recorded fish hook in her excavations at a site in East Timor. The results of this work are published in the latest issue of Science.

The finds from the Jerimalai cave site demonstrate that 42,000 years ago our regional ancestors had high-level maritime skills, and by implication the technology needed to make the ocean crossings to reach Australia.
“It’s not clear what method the occupants of Jerimalai used to capture the pelagic fish or even the shallow water species. But tuna can be caught in purse seines or leader nets, or by using hooks and trolling. Simple fish aggregating devices such as tethered logs can also be used to attract them. So they may have been caught using hooks or nets. Either way it seems certain that these people were using quite sophisticated technology and watercraft to fish offshore,” said Professor O’Connor

1 comment:

Gerry N. said...

One of my best friends is a full blooded Haida Indian, (His Term) and his wife is Tsimshian. Elliott makes olde fashyndde Indian style halibut hooks out of spruce root elbows because: A. He can. B. It's fun. C. The size of the hood determines the size of the halibut he catches. D. It's a direct connect to his ancestry and several millinia old life skill. and E. They work better than factory made steel hooks. He also weaves cedar bark cloth to make rain capes, and weaves cedar bark basket type rain hats. The capes and hats are more water resistant and quantum leaps more comfy in nasty weather than factory made stuff. Not only that, but the materials are handy and free even now. Once you've learned how to make them, you need never be without, same with fishing line, floats, nets and net anchors. Primitive? perhaps. Crude? Not a chance. Effective? Elliot and his family sure can afford more halibut, salmon, shrimp, mussels and clams than I can. Unless, of course, I go fishing with him and share the work. Thing is, working with Elliott is more fun than most activities I can think of. That's why he's a friend.