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Travel News: Discovery of Stone Age Tools in Jordan

My Israel trip was a big success and I’ve already written about Why I Loved Israel, and then it got covered in Israeli media as well. One such article quoting me, a Travel Blogger from India, along side Sonam Kapoor – yes the actress! – is here. This sure is one of the highs of being a Travel Writer!

After exploring Israel, I definitely want to head to Jordan, and it has been on my mind ever since I saw a glimpse of the place while sky diving in Eilat, Israel – the view of Jordan across the Read Sea was stunning, and I found myself wishing I could witness the destination across the sparkling blue waters of the Red Sea soon.

So, it comes as no surprise that I’ve been reading up a lot about Jordan as a travel destination. And today I found out a very interesting fact!

World’s first discovery about early use of stone age tools made in Jordan!

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Beautiful Jordan.

The research team from UVic and partner universities in the US and Jordan has found the oldest evidence of protein residue — the residual remains of butchered animals including horse, rhinoceros, wild cattle and duck — on stone tools. The discovery draws startling conclusions about how these early humans subsisted in a very demanding habitat, thousands of years before Homo sapiens first evolved in Africa.

New research published in the Journal of Archaeological Science by a team led by paleoanthropologist April Nowell of the University of Victoria reveals surprisingly sophisticated adaptations by early humans living 250,000 years ago in a former oasis near Azraq, Jordan.

The findings suggest these early Stone Age hominins were eating a range of meats, and were particularly partial to horse, rhino and duck.

A team from the University of Victoria, working with researchers in Jordan and the US, unearthed 10,000 stone tools during a three-year excavation in the deserts northwest of the town of Azraq.

While the region is dry and arid today, hundreds of thousands of years ago it is believed to be the site of wetlands – ideal hunting grounds.Jordan Travel, Top Travel Blog, Trip to Jordan

They found that several of stone tools excavated at the site bore traces of animal protein – residues of blood, skin and flesh from the butchering process.

According to scientists, the discovery could be the oldest evidence of animal protein ever found and hints at sophisticated behavioural adaptations from these early hominins.

The team excavated 10,000 stone tools over three years from what is now a desert in the northwest of Jordan, but was once a wetland that became increasingly arid habitat 250,000 years ago. The team closely examined 7,000 of these tools, including scrapers, flakes, projectile points and hand axes (commonly known as the “Swiss army knife” of the Paleolithic period), with 44 subsequently selected as candidates for testing. Of this sample, 17 tools tested positive for protein residue, i.e. blood and other animal products.

“Researchers have known for decades about carnivorous behaviours by tool-making hominins dating back 2.5 million years, but now, for the first time, we have direct evidence of exploitation by our Stone Age ancestors of specific animals for subsistence,” says Nowell. “The hominins in this region were clearly adaptable and capable of taking advantage of a wide range of available prey, from rhinoceros to ducks, in an extremely challenging environment.”

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“What this tells us about their lives and complex strategies for survival, such as the highly variable techniques for prey exploitation, as well as predator avoidance and protection of carcasses for food, significantly diverges from what we might expect from this extinct species,” continues Nowell. “It opens up our ability to ask questions about how Middle Pleistocene hominins lived in this region and it might be a key to understanding the nature of interbreeding and population dispersal across Eurasia with modern humans and archaic populations such as Neanderthals.”

Another result of this study is the potential to revolutionize what researchers know about early hominin diets. “Other researchers with tools as old or older than these tools from sites in a variety of different environmental settings may also have success when applying the same technique to their tools, especially in the absence of animal remains at those sites,” adds Nowell.

Mighty interesting, isn’t it? Do you want to plan a trip to Jordan? Well, I’m sure your answer is YES. Here’s hoping we get to explore Jordan soon enough.

Happy Travelling!

Post Author: Aditi Mathur Kumar

Author. Traveller. Blogger. Talker. Eavesdropper.

8 thoughts on “Travel News: Discovery of Stone Age Tools in Jordan

  • Vishal Bheeroo

    (August 21, 2016 - 2:33 pm)

    You made Jordan enticing and the place to visit. Kudos for the detailing and ground work that goes into this post. Super,

  • ajay malik

    (August 22, 2016 - 5:13 pm)

    These are something like .Microsoft Age of empire ,Which i play from last 15 years.Now i understand that from where they found these buildings !cool

  • Rahul Kumar

    (August 24, 2016 - 9:24 am)

    Jordan seems to be really a nice place for family tour. I liked the pictures you have used in this post. Thanks @Aditi for sharing the information.

  • Neha Kapoor

    (August 31, 2016 - 10:17 am)

    After reading this post now i wish to visit jordan atleast once in my lifetime. Thanks a lot for this post.

  • Ramya Rao

    (September 7, 2016 - 11:40 am)

    Wow! The write-up and the pictures are amazing.Jordan has been on my list for quite a long time now.


    (September 7, 2016 - 7:08 pm)

    Have heard and read a lot about Jordan now..the Dead sea, Petra, Jerusalem..totally inspired to go.

  • Ramya JS D'Rozario

    (September 8, 2016 - 10:13 am)

    This is so interesting! Lovely post! 🙂

  • Aseem

    (September 9, 2016 - 5:18 am)

    Wadi Rum, Dead Sea, Petra, Aqaba, Jerash and more. There’s so much to see in Jordan. From what I have heard and read that it’s a really lovely place to go with so much to offer to an avid traveller :).

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