Utama The First Mariners
The First MarinersRobert G Bednarik
This volume summarizes the history and findings of the First Mariners Project, which the author, Robert G. Bednarik, commenced in 1996 in order to explore the Ice Age origins of seafaring. This is the largest archaeological replication project ever undertaken with several hundred people involved in the construction of eight primitive vessels with stone tools under scientifically controlled conditions, six of them sailing. Four bamboo rafts have succeeded in accomplishing the historically documented crossings they sought to replicate. One of the successful experiments, a 1000 kilometer journey to Australia in 1998, attempted to recreate the first human arrival in Australia, probably around 60,000 years ago. Other voyages attempted to address the much earlier sea crossings documented to have taken place in the islands of Indonesia, the earliest of which may have occurred nearly a million years ago. These experiments have also featured in BBC and National Geographic documentaries.
The First Mariners comprehensively describes the archaeological background and relevant issues of the project and features an extensive pictorial record, of both the experiments and the archaeological basis of this research – giving a unique experience to readers interested in understanding the earliest marine adventurers from a historical and technical perspective.
The First Mariners comprehensively describes the archaeological background and relevant issues of the project and features an extensive pictorial record, of both the experiments and the archaeological basis of this research – giving a unique experience to readers interested in understanding the earliest marine adventurers from a historical and technical perspective.
, ml . I.: -----. THE PIRST MARINERS ORI G TIotE r,4 D OF ANCIENT AN: (Festchrift to Robert G. Bednarik) Edited by Peddarapu Chenna Reddy ISBN: 81-89131.()9.5 Edition 2008 1.5) 1 P Price : 49951· S225 RESEARCH INDIA PRESS pp. xxiv + 413, Bib., Index, Colour Plate Price: ~ 4500/- US$15O ISBN: 978-93·5171-007·3 E~.1st Floor, Sangam Vihar New Delhi-110 062 Phone : 011·26047013 Mobile: 9818085794 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 9 7 10073 THE FIRST MARINERS Robert G. Bednarik RESEARCH INDIA PRESS ew Delhi (I DlA) @ Robert G. Bednarik ISBN: 978-93-5171-007-3 Price : ~ 4500/- First Edition: 2014 All right reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of the Editors. Cataloging in Publication Data-DK Courtesy: D.K Agencies (P) Ltd. <email@example.com> Bednarik, Robert G. The first mariners / Robert G. Bednarik. - 1st ed. p. em. Includes bibliographical reference (p. ) and index. ISBN 9789351710073 1. Archaeology. 1. Title. DOC 930.123 Published by .' RESEARCH INDIA PRESS E-6I34, Sangam Vihar New Delhi-110062 Phone: 011-26047013, (M) 9818085794 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Typesetting by G. RSharma CONTENTS 1. rior Introduction ................................................................................. ...................... ........ 1-28 A preamble Creating the human past Heretics in archaeology Tbe discovery of b/lll/onity's great olltiq/lity The discovery of fossil man The discot~ry of Pleistocene or! Tbe discovery of Homo ereetllS Tbe discovery of AllslrolopifheClis Alodem beretics ill arcboeology Dogged by dogma 2. The Domestication of Eve and Adam .................................................................... 29-57 African beginnings The Asian lacunae The European theatre Anatomy o f a scientific controversy The domestication of humans Genius and madn ess The price of perfection 3. The Origins of Human Modernity ......................................................................... 58-90 An unlikely story Exograms Ostrich eggshell beads Underrating the ancients The trouble with archaeology So what really happened? vi THE FIRST MARINERS 4. Pleistocene Seafarers .. ............. ............................................................................... 91-134 Ratlonale of maritime experiments The empirical evidence Ilominins in Wallacea I lominins in Australia About rafts 5. Bound for Australia ............................................................................................... 135-190 The games people play Few are chosen On the trail of Homo erectllS The Nale Tasih 2 expedition On a steep learning curve 6. Mariners of the Lower Paleolithic ....................................................................... 191-225 Raising the bar By the skin of O Uf teeth Ticket from Africa 7. Rafts at Sea ........................................................................................................... 226-268 Father of all rafts Champion of rafts About Paleolithic seafaring Pleistocene rafts 8. Primjtive Archaeology .............. ........................................................................... 269-296 Reasonableness in archaeology Archaeology's hegemonic narrative Some elementary philosophy Summing it up Suggested Reading List ..................................................................................................... .... .................. 297 Index ........... .. .. ................ .. .. .................................................................................................................. 299 CHAPTER - 1 INTRODUCTION I A Preamble According to one of the most influential philosophers of science, Thomas Kuhn, scientific disciplines develop by two quite different processes. "Normal science" is what happens most of the time: routine investigation, often on a large and very time-consuming scale, patiently assembling the tiny pieces of a giant puzzle game about some aspects of physical reality. But sometimes, perhaps once or a couple of times in a century, there occurs a quantum jump in most disciplines, for which Kuhn coined the term "revolutionary science." Out of the blue, something sets off a chain of events that greatly upsets the equilibrium or dissolves the disciplinary fabric. This usually occurs when it becomes apparent that the pieces of the puzzle simply form no satisfactory or rational pattern, or when a new framework of thought renders the puzzle superseded. Perhaps a few of the pieces of the jigsaw have to be removed, resulting in a lack of fit in various areas of the overall picture. This leads to a phase of turmoil in the discipline concerned, to a collapse of crucial models, and a major shift of paradigm could result. The effects of such a revolutionary phase in a discipline can be profound, a variety of indirect revisions may be prompted, they can spread to other disciplines, and in extreme cases they can shake the very foundations of human understanding of the world. This book is about such a paradigm shift in a minor discipline, archaeology-the conditions that led to it, how it unfolded, and what its consequences are likely to be. Once a paradigm shift has run its full course, the discipline in question returns to its "normal" state, and sets about establishing a new pattern in its grand puzzle. That state mal' then persist for many decades, even for centuries, until such time when, once again, it may become apparent that significant parts of the overall pattern have become untenable. 2 THE FIRST MA RINERS An examination of the history of Western science soon demonstrates the validity of Kuhn's characterization. Most progress in any discipline does not occur during the long periods of blissfully orderly pursuits, but during the usually brief, hectic and tumultuous periods of scientific revolution. It is actually within this anarchistic aspect of the revision process that often the seeds may already be sown for the next paradigmatic shift. This is simply because scholars may over-react or panic during an intellectual crisis, as they witness the collapse of their false construct. Archaeology is, strictly speaking, not a science, but it is a pursuit that does make extensive use of science. It has experienced more than its fair share of minor paradigmatic upsets, but as a fundamentally conservative discipline it has not had to undergo any profound or fundamental paradigm shift since the early 19th century. More specifically, in Pleistocene ("lee Age'') archaeology, there have been few significant changes since the beginning of the 20th century, after the authenticity of Paleolithic cave art was grudgingly accepted in France and Spain. Acceptances of important discoveries or changes have been very gradual and these were vigorously resisted for decades. The find of Australopithecus in 1924 remained widely ignored for forty years. Earlier, the discoveries of the first fossil human eandcrthal) and of the first "missing link" (Homo ereellls) were both utterly rejected by mainstream scholars for many years, and earlier still, the very possibility of a Pleistocene archaeology was universally rejected by all archaeologists for decades. The appreciation of the imporrance of Africa to CJuestions of human evolution also was a gradual process. In the early 1950s, the revolution through the acceptance of radiocarbon analysis for dating purposes proceeded reasonably, though not entirely, orderly. And the ideas of the "New Archaeolog),' during the second half of that century established themselves incrementally. One might be tempted to think that perhaps Pleistocene archaeology had progressed so judiciously that there was no need for any precipitous change, but historically this is not the case at all. The discipline has been notoriously accident-prone; it has always been susceptible to ideological currents of history and to manipulation by influential groups and individuals. At any srage, there is no systematic reason apparent why one should have assumed that Pleistocene archaeology might have "gotten it right." Indeed, when we look at the recently dominant model of ethnic, technological and cognitive evolution of hominins, which strongly favors an essentially unlikely scenario, we would be entitled to be a trifle skeptical of the discipline's capacity of self-correction. [n this book I will present two basic propositions: first, that the archaeological evidence of human progress through the lee Ages has been fundamentally misunderstood and tnIslnterpreted by most scholars in the field; and second, that a major paradigm shift in the sense of Kuhn is essential in archaeology generally. I \ViU present specific evidence to support INTRODUCTION 3 my first contention, and offer for consideration a model of cognitive and technological development that differs dramatically and profoundly from archaeology's current consensus model. Concerning my second proposition, I have to concede that institutionalized archaeology with all its vested interests is nor likely to tolerate the traumatic shift of paradigm I will advocate here. The discipline's existing academic, ideological, and to some extent even corporate structures must be expected to resist change, even gradual change, and they are entirely incapable of absorbing a fundamental change of the magnitude I advocate. Rather, based on ample historical precedents, I expect a repetition of traditional patterns in the discipline, which means essentially that the response to my suggestions and demands will be characterized by procrastination; it will be half-hearted at best and viciously obstructive at worst. Even in the long term it will only result in half measures. In other words, instead of the paradigmatic shift required, I expect that only a watered-down version of what is required will be introduced, and only after years of resistance. evertheless, I feel that what I have to say on this subject ought to be said, if only for the record. The principal reason for the ability of archaeology to resist change is that, as a largely non-falsifiable discipline, it can avoid testing by epistemologically sound methods. The "hard sciences" are much more amenable to scientific review--essentially because their propositions are supposed to be falsifiable in the first place. This, precisely, is why archaeology musr nor be defined as a science, but rather as a belief system couched in ontological terms of reference that are distinctly Western in their origins and were always inrended to serve the ,vinners of history, today's nation states. Because of archaeology's tendency to rely on its non-falsifiable status to resist revision, I prefer to present my case to tile lay reader rather than the biased specialist. After all, archaeology is an institutionalized hobby that is funded by the public, and concerning its performance ir should be answerable to society as a whole. In presenting my demand for major changes in Pleistocene archaeology, I count on tlle common-sense judgment of an informed public in prompting an introspective self-appraisal of an othenvise reluctant discipline. In tlus book I will make every effort to fairly present conflicting vie,vs, bur my ultimate aim is to find a way of persuading the discipline to try and confront the issues I ,ViJl address on these pages. This book is nor intended to be a tiresome treatise for academics, but a discussion of rather fundamental issues in archaeology, and a description of what I feel is some of the most exciting work ever undertaken in replicative archaeology. Inevitably, the reader will be tempted to draw comparisons between my story and some of the celebrated " replicative" sea crossings of yesteryear, particularly the heroic journey of Thor HeyerdahI's KO/l-Tiki across the eastern Pacific over half a century ago. That adventure inspired a generation, through the incredible courage of its SLX Scandinavian heroes. In purely scientific terms, 4 THE FIRST MARINERS Heyerdahl's various expeditions, as well as a good number of other sea crossings in primitive vessels of all kinds, yielded only modest returns. Perhaps these and smUlar great endeavors demonstrated possibilities of how island populations might have been founded in the last couple of millennia, by showing what was humanly possible with a given technology. WIthout wishing to detract in any way from the profound accomplishments and the personal dedication and courage that led to many such adventurous journeys undertaken throughout the 20th century, it is fair to say that no maritime experiments have so far resulted in a significant reassessment of archaeological colonization models, let alone in the reappraisal of the discipline as a whole. Perhaps South American mariners did manage to cross ro Polynesia, as Heyerdahl thought, but since there is no evidence that this influenced the course of history it is of little more than anecdotal importance-if it so happened. Perhaps the Chinese did reach America before the Spanish, but much the same applies: in what way can that be demonstrated to have influenced human history? There are sea crossings that may have had effects, especially in establishing specific animal and plant species in regions to which they are not native. Clearly some of the many navigation feats attributed to antiguity at one time or another are a great deal more likely to have occurred than others, but in the end it is evident that the scientific proof that such crossings occurred is generally lacking. In practically all of the claims made in this respect, we are really considering levels of probability, not demonstrated empirical data of history. The project outlined in the present book departs from this pattern significantly, in that it only deals with early maritime feats that can be safely demonstrated to have occurred. Yet incredibly these feats occurred up to hundreds of times as long ago than any others ever considered in detail. This bo k will not only reconsider the conditions under which a whole continent was initially peopled, it will also report the first known crossings of the sea by groups of colonizing hominins (early humans), and it will seek to determine l •• ~ conditions under which the very first mariners succeeded. This is in itself an ambitiOlls rationale, but in the overall context of what I set our to do here it is merely one major aspect of an archaeological/ollr deforce I intend to take the reader on. My primary intention remains to llse the examples of Pleistocene seafaring, hominin evolution and artistic production to illustrate that current archaeological perceptions about the cultural evolution of Our Ice Age ancestors are entirely unrealistic. For well over a century, archaeology has been engaged in the creation and perpetuation of a largely false, whimsical and illogical mythology about the non-biological evolutionary process of humans. I intend ro demonstrate this here, and I will argue that Pleistocene archaeology is badly in need of a decisive paradigm shift. Much if not most of what archaeologists have told us happened in those distant times did not happen, or happened very differently, and the extent to which the discipline got it wrong :' , INTRODUCTION It 5 increases with antiquity: the earlier the time, the more falsities should be expected in our received knowledge. There are good scientific reasons to expect that. My ultimate question to be asked will be: how could it have been possible that an entire discipline has consistently been so far off track, and has so meticulously misinterpreted the available evidence? The answer is not at all straightforward, and a great variety of contributing factors need to be considered. To facilitate the general purpose of tlus book, which is to argue for the need of a fundamental revision in Pleistocene archaeology, I wiLl also introduce a revolutionary new model of how I would like so-called archaeological evidence interpreted, and of how, in my view, the history of hominin development should be reconstructed on the basis of a new epistemological framework. I will consider these important issues in the concluding chapter, but before doing so I would be well advised to present a rather well-documented case. Some fairly convincing evidence will need to be tabled as to why the ratl1er bold, if not to say impertinent, claims I make here nlight be justified. I shall begin the daunting task I have set myself, of rattling the windows of the ivory towers of academe, by defining tl1e crucial issues, and by describing the currently donlinant model. Contrasting tlUs model with tl1e evidence as it stands will set the stage for describing the scientific purpose of a series of raft experiments conducted in Southeast Asian and Australian waters as well as in tl1e Mediterranean. It will also illustrate the purpose of the archaeological research in progress on several Indonesian islands. The findings of the various expeditions described in tlUs book, together with other evidence I have collected in all continents, will then form the basis of tl1e most consequential pan of tlUs volume-the reassessment of our collective construct of honlinin evolution. Creating the Human Past The current consensus model of the biological, technological, and cognitive evolution of the human species is still largely based on what is popularly known as the "African Eve" hypothesis. Its basic prenlises are straightforward: "anatonlically modern humans," as they are often called, evolved in genetic isolation in some unspecified region of sub-Saharan Africa. SupposedUy tlUs occurred between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago. According to the extreme version of tlUs model, speciation happened rapid ly and Eve's progeny became unable to interbreed successfully (i.e. produce fertile offspring) with any other human population in the world. Around 100,000 years ago, tlUs new species of humans had developed dramatically superior characteristics-technologically, cognitively and mentallyand began to expand its geographical range. Having already spread through northern Africa, these "superior," fully modern humans now set about colonizing the rest of the Old World as well as Australia, beginning 'with tl1e lear East. They reached Indonesia by 60,000 years 6 THE FIRST MARINERS ago at the latest, set sail for Australia, colonizing Siberia soon after, but they marched on Europe only 20,000 years later. All of these regions, in fact most of the Old World right up into the Arctic, had been occupied by ear~er humans for hundreds of millennia. These people are collectively known as "archaic HOII/o sapims," and bcing very much more "primitive," they had no effective defense against the onslaught of the African "superhumans." In no case did they contribute their genes to those of the newcomers; they were "replaced," supplanted, perhaps even exterminated by them in the most extensive genocide in human history. This model is therefore known as the " replacement hypothesis." It argues that all human populations other then the descendants of the African Eve were entirely wiped out through the superior technology, communication abi~ty, cognition, hunting strategies, social systems, and intellect of the African Oberll/fIIschfll. I n this otherwise rather Biblical origins myth, with its various references to Genesis, the "meek" certainly failed to inherit the Earth. Whether the archaic people became the victims of genocide on a scale never again seen n tnis planet, or they were simply out-competed by the superiority of the invaders or by their diseases, one thing is thought to be sure. By about 30,000 BP (years before present), the "inferior" races of humans had aU become extinct, with the last remnant populations in southern Spain, Croatia and Java losing their quest for survival. When the victorious Moderns reached the south-easternmost corner of Eurasia, at Bali (then part of the mainland), they set about at once to develop seafaring capability, so that they might cross the numerous sea barriers separating the many islands of the Indonesian archipelago east of Bali, which hitherto had remained unoccupied by any humans. By perhaps 60,000 BP, these fIrst Stone Age mariners set out brazenly to reach a new continent, the Great Southern Land, which was not e\'en visible throughout that entire epic journey. I think the reader would be perfectly justifIed at this point to form the im!-,u.:ssion that aU of this has the familiar ring of an origi ns myth about some hypothetical los t tribe. There is the gruesome implication of near-global genocide, there is an Eden in Africa, there is a hint of the desired promised land--eventually found in the rich, predator-poor continents of Australia and the ew World, where massive herds of large mammals that had never seen man waited to be barbecued. But the Biblical metaphors do not end here; they are a conSlstent, ever-present feature of this scenario. Indeed, there is the concept of the founding mother of these superhumans, Eve of Africa herself, to which all living human beings, and Indeed all humans of the last thirty millennia, are geneticall y related. Yes, we all can trace our lineage to one common mother, through the mitochondria that are passed on down the female line, so we are all distant brothers and sisters. More than that, we can also trace our ancestry back to one single male, the African Adam, through the Y chromosomes. INTRODUCTION 7 Could all of this simply be a plot by fundamentalists to invent a scientifically updated version of the Gospel's explanation of human origins? At a first glance this seems to be a somewhat preposterous suggestion. Surely the sober discipline of paleoanthropology, which investigates the physical origins of humans through the study of their skeletal remains, and whose own gospel is Darwinism, would not permit such blasphemous notions to gain a foothold in its modes of thinking. The issue is probably far too complex for such a simplistic rationalization. For one thing, paleoanthropology as a science stands itself on rather wobbly feet, perched precariously somewhere between paleontology (the study of extinct life forms), physical anthropology, human anatomy and pathology, and Qften relies on archaeology, a discipline in the business of creating modern mythologies about the past, for supplementary information. The paleoanthropologist tries to make sense of the human fossil record, which in practice often means seeking to determine how closely specimens might be related to one another. This is attempted having nothing other than fragments of skeletal remains at our disposal, and it is easy to judge the effectiveness of this pursuit. In 2004, the bones of a very small adult human were excavated in the cave Liang Bua in western Flores, Indonesia. Named Homo florcsiensis, the tiny creature, only about a meter tall, immediately became the object of a raging controvers)'. Some experts claimed it was a dwarf form of an early hominin, Homo cree/liS, others saw it as related to even earlier hominins, such as Homo habilis or australopithecines, and it was also suggested to be an ape. Others again argued vehemently in favor of it being a modern human with pathological conditions, including microcephaly. There was even a claim that one of the molars found contains a filling, which would presumably point to a fake discovery. What this extreme spectrum of opinions about one simple find shows is that, firstly, the academics have learnt nothing from identical controversies in the past eanderthal, HOlllo cree/liS, Piltdown, Australopithecus, to name just the more prominent); and secondly, that they lack the ability of identifying human remains reliably at the species level. The message they are conveying is that the Flores "Hobbit," a it was dubbed, is somewhere between a gibbon and a modern human. Obviously, any non-specialist could have determined that just from the images of the bones, which seems to suggest that the collective understanding of the paleoanthropologists is in need of considerable improvement. We do not accept pronouncements by chemists that a given substance's pH is somewhere between 0 and 14, or by geologists that a given rock facies dates from some time between the Precambrian and the Holocene; we could have guessed that much without expert help. If paleoanhropologists cannot perform bener than that, perhaps they need to either improve their craft or admit their impotence. THE FIRST MARINERS 8 considering the evolutionary history of humans, we also depend profoundly on information provided by archaeology. This discipline, as it operates today, IS based on the theory of uniformitarianism: past events are interpreted in terms of processes that nowadays cause similar phenomena. This principle was adopted from geology, where tn a simplistic but perfectly correct way it can be illustrated thus: if we watch what happens to the sand on a hillside during a rain downpour, we can see how the grains are washed down the tncline. I f we make the deduction that this same process affected the hill in the distant past, we use uniformitarianist argument to speculate about the past. By extrapolating the process far back in time, we can see that the hill must have been higher in the past, and we can predict that, all other things being equal, it will continue to erode. Archaeologists also deal with events and phenomena of the past, so the same kind of logic was introduced. For instance if we find a particular form of evidence we assume that it was created by proce ses similar to those that would result in the same kind of evidence today. But there are three basic arguments against this logic, which underpins practically all archaeological reasoning. First, it relies on an assumption that has not been demonstrated, namely, that in human history similar results demand similar causes. We judge the remains of ancient culrures as if we already possessed access to their meaning, for instance by attempting to bridge the gap with ethnographic analogies. The argument runs something like this: because the southern San people in Africa have been observed using ostrich eggshell beads in certain ways, similar beads were probably used in similar ways by people of the distant past. Secondly, even if uniformitarianism has served disciplines such as geology or paleontol gy very well, tllat does not automatically warrant its utiliry in other fields. Its axioms work faultlessly if we have adequate knowledge of all the variables involved in processes, and if we are concerned with purely natural systems. However, in the case of human societies we are bound to generate false explanations if we subject them to similar deterministic rationalizations. We know that human individuals as well as whole societies rarely behave rationally. Most of our actions and decisions are made at the behest of intrinsic cultural inlperatives and similar irrational systems, such as religious beliefs, priorities dictated by social conditioning, and behavior patterns possibly too complex to analyze effectively even in modern people. I-Iumans have a great capaciry for making mistakes and for making illogical decisions. To treat humans and their societies as mechanistic entities motivated only by rationaliry seems ludicrous for any time or culture. We all know that the human potential for folly has no bounds, and that this is not so in spite of our much-vaunted intelligence, but rather precisely because of it. Seen from this perspective it is absurd to treat the so-called archaeological record as a material reflection of societies governed by rationaliry, where behavior and intent can be accessed by recourse to sets of uniformitarian predictions. [n INTRODUCTION 9 One more objection to the way simplistic archaeology has operated I find particularly important. It concerns an internal contradiction in its underlying practice. On the one hand we have the acceptance that dle discipline is imperfect, that its method of data collection is severely flawed because it is incapable of predicting the methods available or the questions asked in hundreds of years from now. Yet every archaeological deposit can only be excavated once, and is essentially destroyed once excavated. Hence we can safely assume that the excavator, the destroyer of archaeological strata, is likely to throw out more data potential than he collects. Therefore it is considered most inappropriate to destroy all available deposit, and sites are only partially excavated as a rule. But then we have the assumption implicit in all interpretations that at;chaeological investigation yields ral/do", samples of data. Data, here, means any form of information considered relevant, such as number of instances per unit, their density relative to another variable, or indeed any quantitative expression of evidence. "Random sample," in science, refers to a given quantity of evidence that is thought to be typical of the evidence class it is considered to represent. In archaeology it is impossible to collect random samples of anything. A site may be toO large to be sampled in its entirety, and the archaeologist is in any case not permitted to excavate it completely. So he or she selects a sampling area and hopes that the recorded data are representative for the whole site, society or culture. For the purpose of merely describing what evidence has survived there can be no major objection to sum practices. One can argue, however, that no part of a site is typical for the whole, and that no sample of site contents can be typical of the whole site's contents. Nor could the whole site be typical of a greater unit, say, a tradition or culture. The most significant problems begin as soon as the armaeologist assumes that the sample collected would be similar to a sample of the same kind of material collected from the living society in question. Many archaeologists understand very well that there carmot possibly be a one-to-one relationship, but few have ever thought about the real extent of these distortions by, among other things, preservation conditions. In the early 1990s I discovered the theoretical principles determining how distorted the archaeological record really is, and I presented a method of quantifying this phenomenon. These principles were prominendy published (e.g. in the journal Al1tiqllity, in 1994, and in several other academic papers), and yet two decades later not a single archaeologist has responded to my propositions in print. The reason is simple. The new form of logic I proposed for the interpretation of archaeological phenomena affects virtually all archaeological explanations ever attempted. Its impact increases in proportion to the age of the material evidence, and by the time we consider finds of the Ice Ages, it becomes devastating and eventually renpers all traditional explanations unwarranted. This is because the distorting influences of selective preservation, selective deposition and selective recovery 10 THE FIRST MARINERS increase with age. Once we have gone back in time to the earliest period in human history, called the Lower Paleolithic, the effects of this phenomenon have so eroded the credibility of the existing interpretational models that nearly all of them can safely be assumed to be false. Only the broadest based, most generalized explanations ever offered by archaeology have prospects of surviving this scrutiny reasonably intact. This leaves us with a fascinating scenario. The archaeology of the Ice Ages and of the last part of the preceding geological period, called the Pliocene, which together cover more than 99.9% of the entire history of humankind, has spawned a vast number of interpretations, explanations and-more often--downright authoritative pronouncements about the physical, cultural, cognitive, technological, and mental evolution of the human species. If most of them had to be rejected because they have no realistic empirical basis, it would render invalid most archaeological constructs we have been presented with over the last century and a half. We would find ourselves with a discipline that has been, for all practical purposes, wrong most of the time. In the present book I will submit that this is indeed the case, and I will not only demonstrate this with specific examples, but also in the end show why it was indeed entirely predictable. This latter claim is particularly interesting, in part because it shows that the errors made in Ice Age archaeology might have been avoidable. It also offers a way of avoiding them in future. If we seek a genuine understanding of human origins we really have no choice but to discard superseded ideas and research methodology, and to make an effort in considering the classes of evidence proffered in this field within a realistic theory of interpretation. That theory will be presented in the concluding chapter, and it will be illustrated with practical applications. Before embarking on this journey into a more realistic Pleistocene archaeology, it would be worthwhile and instructive to consider the reasons for the proliferation of precipitate and often false hypotheses in this field. Explaining mistakes can greatly assist in avoiding them in the future, and in revising the academic dynamics of knowledge acquisition in the discipline itself. What foUows is therefore nor a gleeful criticism of a discipline that has erred, but is intended as a constructive analysis that might facilitate sincere re-examination. It is most certainly nor intended to weaken archaeology, but rather to strengthen it, by excising, or at least understanding, its various inherent weaknesses. S~ far, archaeology has never operated as a scientific discipline, but rather as a pursuit seJecovely harnessmg falslfiable propositions of other disciplines (such as physics, chemistry, sedimentology, etc.) to construct internally non-falsifiable propositions about the distant human past. To render archaeology scientific, its own hypotheses would need to be so formulated as to be testable internally, i.e. \vithout recourse to one of the hard sciences. INTRODUCTION 11 Most archaeologists are well aware that their discipline as practiced yields no scientific, testable propositions. As a kind of defense mechanism to counter this inherent weakness, archaeology has fostered a system of laudable conservatism, which protects the discipline against frivolous hypotheses, but has also led to a considerable reluctance to revising existing models. In practice, very minor adjustments to the dominant paradigm are possible, but any major changes are resisted vigorously, while fundamental revisions are essentially out of the question. Therefore, the conservatism intended to protect the discipline becomes a liability if the dominant dogma can be preserved but is itself faulty. Whereas the sciences need to be responsive to falsifying evidence, in a discipline lacking falsifiability this safeguard does not apply; it can maintain its un falsifiable dogma. This saddles the discipline with a profound epistemic weakness. Conservatism in interpretation is certainly a virtue, but in a field dominated by untestable and often quite fallacious interpretations it can become counterproductive. For instance, I would predict that the most common reaction of archaeologis ts to this book will be that, for all my huffing and puffing, I must be wrong, because how could it possibly be that generations of experts could have been so far off the mark? This sounds like a reasonable argument until we consider the history of archaeology, which features a long succession of heretics who, despite turning out to be right, were rejected, rubbished, and often destroyed by archaeology. Heretics in Archaeology The most characteristic feature of archaeology is not that it deals with the past; many disciplines do that, including paleontology, palynology, geology, or astronomy-no human has ever seen a present-time star. Nor is it that archaeology conjures up images of mystery and adventure; most disciplines can do d,at. Nor that it often deals with interesting remote places and countries. Arcl1aeology is more readil)' characterized by a collection of rad,er negative factors. For instance, it is the only "scientific" discipline that seeks to control access to methods, data, sites and knowledge. 0 other discipline (except medicine, for ethical reasons) restricts work in its field to card-carrying members of the relevant academic trade union. Another distinctive aspect of archaeology is the uneasy relationship it has developed with its two principal client groups: the interested public, whicl, it relegates to the status of spectators, "cult archaeologists" and "folk arcl1aeologists;" and the political structures in the struggle of indigenous people around the world. The latter in many cases object to archaeological practices as undermining their fragile cultural legitimacy, because archaeology represents d,e dominant or colonizing society. The tensions are in all cases not only due to excessive curatorial desires of the discipline's practitioners and the political agendas they 12 THE FIRST MARINERS serve, as servants of the state, but also due to archaeologists' misunderstandings of the role and capabilities of archaeology, and the ethical fact that archaeologJcal property does not belong to state-appointed "experts." They speak neither for indigenous peoples nor for science; in fact their curatorial demands conflict with principles of acaderruc freedom as well as the aspirations of cultural autonomy of autochthon peoples. . . But by far the most characteristic feature of establishment archaeology IS ItS treatment of heretics and iconoclasts: the people who disagree with its established dOgJnas. It IS not so much that heretics may not also be rejected in other disciplines, but in other fields of human endeavor there is a tendency to learn from mistakes made in rejecting heretics. This is not evident in archaeology. That discipline has had to deal with dissent for its entire history, and that history provides ample evidence that archaeology as an academic discipline has learnt nothing from these encounters--or from the great embarrassments they have led to. Today it uses precisely the same strategies of silencing these people it used almost 200 years ago. This is what I seek to demonstrate here. To see this, and to understand this extreme conservatism it is necessary to examine some case histories. on-archaeologists have offered important ideas, data or finds to the discipline in hundreds of cases, only to be indignantly rejected, and yet it was subsequently found that the finds were authentic, the data valid or the ideas extremely important in developing archaeology. Often this realization that the discipline had made a great error in rejecting such outsiders only came after the death of the heretical scholar. And yet the discipline's knee-jerk-like rejection, and much later grudging acceptance of iconoclasts continues unabated, and this pattern is by far the most characteristic aspect of archaeology as a reactionary discipline. In this and other senses, orthodox archaeology is very reminiscent of some religions, especially the Roman Catholic version of Christianity of past centuries. Although archaeology does not appreciate being compared with religion, " has strong dOgJnas, it "crucifies" heretics, it is a belief system (or so I will argue in this book), and its history is inter-woven with specific religions. "Biblical archaeology" remains a valid subject at Western universities. Such institutions are dedicated to an intellectually corrupt form of scholarship, the misuse of cientific techniques to demonstrate the validity of religious fantasies and mythologies. But it does offer an escape from the scientific proposition that humans are nOt qualitatively different from other animals, such as other primates, or only so by a very slim margin (and I will argue in this book that we are a species of neotenous apes). In order to examine possible historical patterns in the treatment of archaeological heretics it is most instructive to consider the most "celebrated" cases in the history of the discipline. It IS useful to appreciate that no truly important archaeological discovery was ever made by a professional archaeologist. The most important finds made in Pleistocene and Pliocene INTRODUCTION 13 archaeology are perhaps the discoveries of man's antiquity, of fossil man, of Paleolithic cave art, of Homo erectlls, and of Allstra!opitheclls. They were all made by non-archaeologists, and they were all rejected by the archaeologists, in all cases without seriously attempting to examine the evidence fairly. The Discovery of Humanity's Great Antiquity One of the first to recognize the immense antiquity of humankind was Jacques Boucher .-_ _ _ _ _ _ _-==_____--, de Crevecceur de Perthes (1788--1868). He was a French customs official who for decades in his spare time collected Paleolithic stone tools, such as hand axes, in the gravels of the River Somme (Figure 1). In examining finds made by a local medical doctor, Casimir Picard, in the 1820s he recognized these as the handiwork of human beings, and finding them together with the bones of extinct animals he realized that humans must have lived in France during the Pleistocene, the Ice Age. A year after having been seconded to Abbeville in 1825 he began to collect stone implements and he soon became a regular visitor to the region's quarries, canal diggings, and gravel pits. About 1832 he Figure 1: Jacques Boucher de Crevec<Eur de commenced serious excavations, amassing a Perthes. large collection of flint tools and other material, and by 1838 he presented his theory and evidence to the Societe d'Emulation. Undaunted by tile skepticism that greeted him, he did the same in the follo\ving year before the Paris Institute, where hi s ideas and finds were thoroughly rejected. He then published his work in five volumes entitled 011 the Creatioll, again finding it rejected by the "experts." Unfortunately this man also had some other eccentric ideas: he thought that women should have rights, he suggested tile raising of the living standards of the working classes, and he advocated universal peace. In short, it was easy to see tint Boucher de Perthes was just a crank. evertheless, he proved to be a very persistent crank, and during the late 1840s, Scandinavian arcl1aeologists had begun to turn the tide in his favor, with their Three Age system (Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages). By 1847 he had become so confident that he claimed humans existed many tllousands, even hundreds of thousands of years ago. This 14 THE FIRST MARINERS he deduced from the geological age of the strata he had excavated, and he quite correctly pointed out that most tools then may have been made from wood, but that In order to work wood the use of a harder material, flint, was essential. Of particular interest here is Boucher de Perthes' own reaction to the consistent rejection he experienced over some decades: "They employed against me a weapon more potent than objections, than criticism, than satire or even persecution-the weapon of disdam . They did not discuss my facts, they did not even take the trouble to deny them . They disregarded them." This is important, because the same weapon is still widely employed In contemporary archaeology, and in precisely the same way. The final denouncement came in 1858, at a French archaeology congress that issued a unanimous declaration according to which all of de Perthes' stone tools from Abbeville were "a worthless collection of randomly picked up pebbles." The archaeologists, who had long objected to the disciplinary trespass of this troublesome amateur, had realized that Boucher de Perthes was not going to give up easily, and that he was even gaining a little support, especially from two more amateur archaeologists, another doctor and a geologist Marcel-Jerome Rigollot and Edmond Hebert. So it was decided to act decisively against these cranks. This turned out to be a great and rather untimely embarrassment, because in the following year, two British geologists, who had quietly worked away testing Boucher de Perthes' propositions (which is precisely what good scientists do), published their findings, confirming that he had been right all along and the "worthless pebbles" were the tools of "DilU\~al man." Hugh Falconer and Joseph Prestwich had themselves become aware that he might be right, after taking part in the 1858 supervised excavation of Windmill Hill Cave, Brixton, by another autodidact, William Pengelly (1812-1894). Pengelly, a self-taught geologist, had earlier excavated in Kents Cavern where he had found extinct animal remains together with flint tools, and repeated Boucher de Perthes' claims. Over the following years, in the wake of Darwin's Origill of the species (1859) and Lyell's The olltiqlli(y of II/till (1863), public opinion swung around sharply, and it is important to note that archaeological opinion followed suit. As we will see in this book, this is the usual pattern: archaeology follows public opinion, it is the most populist discipline, always ingratiating itself with the public. Boucher de Perthes lived to see his tenacity of half a lifetime vindicated becau~e he persevered and he addressed the public. Those heretics of archaeology who faded In this were not so fortunate to witness their "exoneration." The Discovery of Fossil Man In the very year of another amateur's book, D arwin's 1859 seminal volume (which was, however, preceded b)' more than a millennium by the discovery of natural selection and INTRODUCTION 15 environmental determinism through Al-Jahiz  in his Kitob ol-hqyoJl!oll ['Rook of animals']) and Prestwich's substantiation of de Perthes' claims, an article by an unknown author appeared in a German journal. Johann Carl Fuhlrott (1803-1877) was a schoolteacher (Figure 2), and he presented a paper about what he claimed to be skeletal remains of a preHistoric human being that probably was of the Diluvial period (the Pleistocene or Ice Age). But instead of welcoming the opportunity of publishing the first report ever of fossil man the journal explicitly rejected the interpretation of the find, publishing with it a footnote expressing its disagreement with Fuhlrott's op1illon. The bones had been excavated in August 1856 by two workers in a limestone quarry in the eander valley Figure 2: Johann Carl Fuhlrott. in Germany. In removing the sediment fill of the Kleine Feldhofer Cave, they threw the bones on the slope of waste material, where an owner of the quarry noticed them. Thinking that they were cave bear bones, he collected the larger ones and gave them to Fuhlrott, whose work as a naturalist was known locally. Fuhlrott recognized that the individual represented by the bones differed significantly from modern humans, and he also recognized that the clay deposit in the cave seemed to be of the Diluvial period-as the Pleistocene was then known. In 1857 he presented these findings to a conference in Bonn where they were rejected, except for the anatomist Hermann Schaaffhausen, who had examined the bones and tentatively agreed with the teacher from Eberfeld. In 1860, the founder of British geology, Charles Lyell, visited Fuhlrott and the eander valley, taking a plaster cast of the cranium, and Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin's most outspoken supporter and yet another amateur, commented that it was the most ape-like human skull he had ever seen. His view was shared by Irishman William King, and one would have thought Fuhlrott's views would have been accepted within a few years, particularl)' in view of the rise of D arwinism at that time. Far from it; over the following years, the remains were variously attributed to a Iongolian Cossack, a Celt, a Dutchman, a Friesian, and an idiot. The bone architecture was attributed to various bone di eases, the curved leg bones to a life of riding horses. The raging controversy was "resolved" in 1872 when Germanls foremost expert, Professor Rudolf Virchow, entered the fray at long last. As the president of ---- 16 THE FIRST MA RINERS the Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory, and an anatomist of great prestige, he determined the health history of the individual since his childhood from the bones available, in a classic.'ll demonstration of the value of deductive diagnosis. His authoritative rejection of Fuhlron's interpretation seemed to be decisive and public perception was guided by it. That would have been the end of the story for some rime if it had not been for the British Darwinists. Interestingly, Virchow was quite supportive of the evolution theory at the time, even though he defmed it as not adequately supported by empirical data. However, his position over the following years hardened, and when odd-looking human mandibles were found in twO other caves (La Naulette in France and Sipka Cave in Moravia) he rejected them as being rypical of a "race." By 1877 he warned against Ernst Heinrich Haeckel's proposal to teach evolution theory in schools. He felt it would "dispossess" the churches, and he became alarmed that Socialists had adopted evolutionism into their political agenda. Virchow was politically active, and one of the founders of a political party, the German Progressive Party. He grew progressively concerned about the implications of political Darwinism and eventually also spoke out against biological Darwinism as "limiting academic freedom." Thus the position of eanderthal man became subordinated to other agendas, such as tho e of academic prestige and monopolization, political issues and tribal warfare among the tribes of academia. Fuhlrott had become irrelevant, a mere footnote in the discipline's history. However, in 1886, after almost 30 years, he was finally vindicated. An excavation in a cave at Spy, near amur, Belgium, produced two substantially complete skeletons of humans, found together with numerous stone tools and the bones of extinct animal species. The characteristics of the human bones matched those of the Neanderthal find, and the theory of congenital bone deformations collapsed. By now it was widely accepted outside of Germany that these were representatives of fossil humans of the Ice Age, and yet, in Germany it tOok another fifteen years before a detailed favorable study of the Neander ,'alley remains was published. It was in fact a student of Vircho\Y, Gustav Schwalbe, who published a reassessment of the original! eander valley skeleton in 1901, pronouncing it as belongmg to a separate human species, Homo neander/halensis. I The Discovery of Pleistocene Art The .existence of Paleolithic cave art was long known, probably always since the lee Age. For u:s~ce we know that m 1458 Pope Calixtus III decreed that the religious ceremonies held m the Sparush cave wtth the horse pictures" had to cease. We cannot know which ca,'e he referred to, but it was almost certainly a cave with Paleolithic art. However while many people of the ten thousand years after the Ice Age were perfectly farniliar \~th the t- . " ",p.:.'-- .. , . INTRODUCTION anclent art, nobody had told the archaeologists about it. This factor should turn out to be of serious consequences for D on Marcelino Santiago Tomas Sanz de Sautuola (1831-1888), a nobleman of the Santander region in northern Spain (Figure 3). In due course it would destroy his life. A landowner of wealth and diverse interests, he had been one of the first to introduce eucalypts in Spain, he had a magni Bcent library and a good knowledge of the region's geology and ancient sites. In fact he was appointed vice-president of the monuments commission of his district in 1872, just seven years before the fateful discovery that would ruin him. 17 Figure 3: Marcelino Santiago Tomas Sanz de Sautuola and his daughter, Maria. The story begins in 1868, when a hunter, Modesto Cubillas, lost his dog on A1tamira, a limestone hill on de Sautuola's property. It had climbed into a cave and found itself unable to come out. The hunter opened up a hole and found a large cavern. This was mentioned to the land's owner years later, in 1875, who decided to explore the cave. He found a considerable quantity of split bone upon digging in its floor deposir, some of which he took to show a geologist friend, Juan Vilanova y Piera at Madrid University. Vilanova recognized the bones as being from extinct species, and that they had been fractured by humans. In 1878, de Sautuola visited the World Exhibition in Paris, which included an exhibit of stone tools and bones recently excavated in caves of the French Perigord. De Sautuola remembered his own cave, and in the spring of the following year began in earnest to excavate part of the A1tamira cave. Mi,xed with the bones of animals and oyster shells, he found the typical stone blades of the Magdalenian period in large quantities. Deeper in the cave, a complete skeleton of a cave bear was encOlilltered, and the explorer also observed black markings on the cave wall, but gave them no further thought at that time. It was his 12-year-old daughter Maria, who played in the cave as he was digging, who first noticed that there were animal pictures on the ceiling. This was in ovember 1879, after he had worked in the cave for quite some months. I t was at once clear to de Sautuola that the incredible gallery of paintings of bison he now began to see was probably the work of the same people whose debris he was digging up, partly because he had already observed seashells full of paint pigment, and some of their debris occurred right on top of the floor deposit. H e reported this incredible discovery THE FIRST MARINERS 18 , I. .' W "" -7 -.; i ' ~. ." . . , immediately to Vilanova, who came to inspect the End. Upon examination of the floor sediments Vilanova agreed with his friend that the many pamongs were anCIent. He gave ~ lecture in Santander the discovery made headlines across Spam, and King Alfonso XI visited the A1tamira c~ve.ln 1880 de Sautuola produced a publication, describing the paintings and the occupation evidence, but cautiously avoiding the claim that the twO forms of evidence necessarily needed to belong to the same time. It was a sober treatise, entirely lacking ill flamboyant claims. For the illustrations he required he employed a destitute and dumb French painter he had befriended earlier, and this turned out to be a fatal mistake. The publication was greeted with considerable disapproval, which soon built up to ridicule and anger. The di scipline decided collectively that de Sautuola was either a charlatan, or at the very least he had been severely duped. At the International Congress of nthropology and Prehistory in Lisbon, where the elite of Europe's prehistorians gathered, Vilanova presented the discoveries in A1tamira, strongly defending de Sautuola. One of the most influential French delegates, Professor Cartailhac, walked out in disgust, and later rounrlly declared the paintings to be a fraud, without even bothering to see them. In fact all other experts refused to examine the site initially, and the French decided that the whole affair was a plot by Spanish Jesuits to undermine the credibility of preHistory as it had emerged. Once again we see the struggle between the discipline and the hurch made explicit. Eventually, a railways engineer who had a good knowledge of paleontology, Edouard Harle, was requested to examine de Sautuola's outrageous claims, and he promptly discovered the involvement of the dumb painter (who in the meantime had disappeared). 0 further investigation was needed, the case was clear enough to him. Vilanova tried in vain to use his academic prestige to promote acceptance of the find. He was judged to have been the Erst to have been duped by the charlatan of A1tamira, and unable to concede that. De Sautuola, for his part, did not respond to the accusations. As a Spanish nobleman he felt that he could not enter into a discussion of whether he was honorable or not, but we know that he suffered greatly. He tried to present his case at a French conference in Algiers in 1882 and submitted a self-funded booklet to another conference, in Berlin, but both endeavors were ignored. Six years later he died at the age of fifty-seven, a broken and bitter man, in the full knowledge that he had made one of the greatest discoveries in the history of archaeology. He also knew that he had failed in effectively conveying this knowledge to a thoroughly hostile academic world. His death weighs heavily on archaeology, particularly as he was judged without trial-but all to no avail, as we will see. Bemg an archaeologist certainly is a health risk, and as one practitioner, Paul Bahn, 'WTyly observed, it requires the hide of a rhinoceros. ---- .- INTRODUCTION 19 A French schoolteacher, Leopold Chiron, had found engravings deep in the cave of Chabot already in 1878, and in 1890 in another site, Figuier. In 1883 Francois Daleau excavated engravings on a wall in Pair-non-Pair that had been covered by Ice Age sediments. In 1895, a bison engraving was discovered in the French cave La Mouthe, and Emile Riviere, who had actually seen the Altamira paintings, found more rock art in La Mouthe, and four years later a Paleolithic lamp. The evidence in favor of Paleolithic rock art mounted. In 1897 Cartailhac still refused to publish the note of a new discovery of cave art, but in 1902 he published his famous "Mea culpa d'un sceptique," in which he grudgingly accepted that he had been monumentally wrong. The Discovery of Homo Erectus During the last decade of the 19th century, another of the greatest discoveries of Pleistocene archaeology was just in the making. Eugene Dubois (1858-1941) was a Dutch physician who had been bitten by the archaeology bug as a young man (Figure 4). Haeckel, who had supported the initial iden tification of Neanderthal man, predicted the existence of a "missing link" on the fossil record, a creature that would be an intermediate form between extinct apes and human beings. He had given it the name Pithecanthropus in 1886, and in the absence of any fossil find s at the time, had sketched out what such a creature might look like. In 1870 Haeckel had lectured in Holland, and Dubois set out quite deliberately to find the remains of Pithecanthropus, deciding that the region of today's Figure 4: Eugene Dubois. Indonesia was the right place to look for them. Bearing in mind the almost complete lack of knowledge about hominin evolution at the time in question, this was certainly a most audacious plan-and not one likely to succeed too readily. A passage in a book by the British naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, who mentioned South-east Asian caves and apes in connection with the origins of humans, was Dubois' main clue, apart from the reasoning of both Wallace and Darwin that these origins were to be found in the tropics. He signed up as military physician to go to Sumatra in 1879, specifically intending to look for the "missing link." His investigations of caves in Sumatra led to no exciting finds, however, and after twO years, following a bout of Malaria, he was transferred to the drier 20 THE FIRST MARINERS Java. Here he secured limited support from the colonial administration~ and the use of convict labor for major excavations. He began to dig at several sites, finding the sedll11ents rich in fossils. In 1891, while excavating on the Solo River, he recovered first a tooth, then a cranium, which he judged to be of a large, human-li ke ape. In the following year, a thighbone was found, clearly of an upright walking primate, and a second molar. I n 1893 Dubois claimed to have found an apelike hominin at Trinil, on the basis of these four speclmens. Even the telegraphed reports preceding Dubois' return to Holland created controversy, and it was claimed he had combined a human femur with the cranium and teeth of an ape. One member of the Dutch Zoological Society asked, if we were to continue searching at the Trinil site and found a second left femur, would that indicate that Pithecanthropus had rwo left legs? Or that he had two different heads, if a human skull were found another 15 m further? Dubois had no idea what awaited him, and when a few weeks after his arrival he addressed a congress in Leiden, the assembled experts soon began to form opposing camps. Interestingly enough, these were largely divided along national lines, for instance, most Germans saw the creature as an ape with some human features, the British as a human \\~th some simian features, while the Americans shared Dubois' view. Over the following years, this debate raged without any agreement in sight. In 1928 Dubois recorded wryly that no less than fifteen different interpretations of his fossil finds had been proposed by as many scholars. He made great efforts to contribute to resolving the controversy, traveling widely, and learning the skills of a dentist, a photographer and a sculptor, creating a life-size statue of his beloved Pithecallthropus. He invented a special "stereoorthoscopic" camera, capable of taking photographs of fossils from all sides without distortion . But all his endeav rs seemed to be doomed, which he found increasingly exasperating. The escalation of the controversy, the rejection of his views and the continuing sniping about the circumstances of the recovery and his status as an amateur were hard to bear, and personally hurtful for him. Instead of finding recognition for his incredible success, he found himself in the middle of a controversy he had not wanted, and which overshadowed his achievement completely. As a result of his personal hurt he became increasingly reclusive, and finally he-who had gone to extreme lengths to promote understanding of his finds, and carried them around with him in a suitcase for years to show to any researcher who might be interested-refused to receive any further scholars. In fact he is reputed to have hidden the fossils under the floorboards of his house. So deeply was he hurt that for thirty years he turned his back on the scholars. Opponents of evolution rejoiced, saying that this was attributable to 1115 remorse, for the cardinal sin of having aided and abetted such a sacrilegious teaching with his Pithecallthropl/s. INTRODUCTION 21 Aged 74 he relented at last and invited several prominent scholars to see him. A new generation had taken over in the discipline, whose methods and ideas were somewhat more sophisticated, and who were no longer concerned about the issues that had dominated Dubois' thinking. The Javan fossils were now attributed to Homo eree/lls, of whom numerous specimens had in the meantime been discovered on a hill at Zhoukoudian near Beijing. At 80, Dubois was visited by Franz Weidenreich (whom we will meet again later), who was to become the most significant paleoanthropologist in the discipline's history. Weidenreich's most important teaching has to this day been completely misunderstood by practically all Anglophone specialists, in what could fairly be described as the "paleoanthropological misunderstanding of the century." As a result, d,e multiregional hypothesis of hominin origin s, which emerged some years later, has now been disparaged for several decades. The issue of the "missing link" was no longer so pressing, after all, that link had been discovered in England, at Piltdown (which was a fake). In fact even a kind of "missing link" that was J10t afake had been discovered by that time, in South Africa. The only problem wid, that was that nobody even took any notice of it. The Discovery of Australopithecus Piltdown is certainly not the only fake in archaeology, there are millions of fakes; nor is it even a particularly elaborate fake. It is just the most "celebrated" of all archaeological fakes. Oh yes, dl ere are probably more archaeological fakes around than there are fakes of great art works. \Vho le industries of creating fake artifacts exist, particularly in northern Africa, sou thwe stern Asia and the And ean countries. And, quite possibly, the majority of archaeological fakes remain undiscovered. What distinguishes Pil tdown is the very public way in which it exposed some of the weaknesses of the discipline. It began with the discovery of nine cranial fragments and a lower right mandible with two molars in a Sussex gravel pit in D ecember 1912. But while the brain case was clearly human, the jawbone was decidedly simian. Here was a classical "missing link" specimen, and best of all, it came from d,e most deserving place on earth, E ngland. Although it must be said that dlere were skeptical voices right from dle start, tbey were easily drowned out by tbe believers, and the question for dle crad le of humanity seemed solved at last. It took 41 years to expose tbe fraud by scientific tests in the 1950s, which is truly amazing. After all, the forgery was so crude that it can hardly be called that, and almost certainly was a hoax radler than a fraudulent attempt to mislead science. This is emphasized by the later planting of more "fmds," including a bone shaped into a cricket bat, clearly intended to show d,e discerning observer dlat this was simply a prank by a person wid, a great sense of humor-who, however, wished to remain anonymous. The 22 THE FIRST MARINERS preferred explanation identifies Martin A. C. Hinton as the joker, who had an old grudge against one of the principal "discoverers." One cannot help but feel sympathy for Hinton, who had probably set out to expose and humiliate a pompous superior whom he considered incompetent, only to discover that none of the people he hoped would expose his superior had the competence to see through the joke. The prankster completely overe timated the proficiency of the discipline. Instead of exposing the intended victim, the exasperated Hinton apparently succeeded in exposing the gullibiliry of academe. It remains to be explained how the world's experts of human anatomy could have been fooled by this crude fraud that was probablY meant to be exposed. The filing traces where the bones had to be trimmed to fit together were still visible to the naked eye, and the artificial patination of the bones to give them a brown color was unconvincing. Moreover, the various finds were such an incongruous, ill-fitting collection that it needs to be asked why it took to 1953 to expose the prank. Be that as it may, the Piltdown affair had a considerable effect on the discipline, particularly in the rejection of evidence that would tend to contradict Piltdown. Even evidence that might detract from the importance of "Piltdown Man" was unwelcome for several decades. So when in 1924 a young, Australian-born anatomist In South Africa (Figure 5) reported finding skeletal remains of a creature that seemed about half-way between ape and human, his report was greeted with sco rn and contempt. Having in the previous decade discovered that humans had evolved in England, European and especially British Figure 5: Raymond Arthur Dart. archaeologists and physical anthropologists were. in no mood to seriously consider such a competing counter claim "from the colonies." The mfant specimen from Taung, in Bophuthatswana, consisted of a brain cast and the facial bones of a creature Raymond Arthur Dart (1893-1988) named Allstralopithems africallJlS, the southern ape of fnca. He had found them in two crates of fossil bones from a limestone quarry. The Taung child had distinctive human-like features, and yet the experts of the time relegated It to the status of a new fossil ape. After all, PiItdown made it perfectly clear that the INTRODUCTION 23 brain evolved before the rest of the skull did, and only after it matched that of modem humans did the remaining bone structure develop in this direction. On that basis Austrolopzthecus, despite its rather human-like dentition, still had to be an ape. During the 1920s, tons of Australopithectls bones were quarried at another South African site, Makapansgat, and calcinated to make lime powder. A local naturalist named Eitzman tried desperately to interest a paleontologist in the study of the incredible wealth of fossils in this former cave's fill material. He made limited observations the best he could, and reported seeing an apparently complete skeleton of Allstrolopithecus before it was thrown into a kiln. All his endeavors to interest anyone in this site were in vain, and when he showed the Makapansgat jasper cobble to Dart, who was himself disappointed by the reception Atlstrolopithecus had received, Dart showed no interest. This stone is now regarded as the earliest evidence ever recovered that suggests the emergi ng capacity to perceive figurative properties in a natural form, which is called pareidolia (Figure 6). This important piece of evidence was not properly studied and analyzed for 72 years Q.e. until I did so in 1997). Indeed, many aspects of the discovery of AIIStrolopithectls indicate an incredible scientific apathy. A medical doctor, Robert Broom, found further specimens of this very early, humanlike creature in the 1930s and 1940s, and by the middle of the century it was becoming 5cm glaringly apparent that Piltdown had to be a fake. It was also becoming clear that its Figure 6: The Makapansgat manuport, 2.5 to 3 acceptance by the experts had retarded the million years old. study of human origins for four decades, and that there was more than one species of AtistrolopitheclIs. Today we distinguish half a dozen of them, and we think that the australopithecines persisted for several million years in Africa. Fortunately for D art, he was a young man when he discovered them, and he survived the time of the eventual acceptance of his find by many years. He had not been victimized, his reputation was not torn to shreds, he had merely been ignored. As Boucher de Perthes had observed a century earlier, "they did not discuss my facts, they did not even take the trouble to deny them. They disregarded them." 24 THE FIRST MARINERS Modern Heretics in Archaeology The above are only some of the more prominent examples of archaeological autodidacts who were rejected by ''The Discipline;" there are hundreds of others who have suffered similar fates. Lawyer Edouard Piette (1827-1906) comes to mind, for instance; he pioneered excavation tech nique and discovered a cultural tradition called the Azilian. His experiences have been said to closely resemble mine. One might ask: is there a decrease in the severity of the treatment mainstream archaeology has meted out to heretics as we consider more recent, and supposedly more enlightened times? However, as we approach the second half of the 20th century, I need to be more circumspect and remember that many practitioners are both still alive (even if brain-dead, to borrow from archaeologist Paul Bahn) and rather litigious. I evertheless, there are cases that have already been judged by public enquiry, such as the case of David Rindos at the Archaeology Department of the University of Western Australia. I t was resolved in 1997, with his premature death during a parliamentary enquiry during which he sought to recover his academic reputation and hi s job, having been sacked for reporting that his department was thoroughly corrupt and mismanaged, rife with complaints of sexual harassment ftom (male) students, that administrative procedures were flouted, and that the lucrative archaeological consultancies industry of Western Australia was run by it. There were deep divi sions, general low morale, serious allegations of "inequitable behavior" within the department, and the professor was accused of "academic thuggery." After the victi mization and destruction of Rindos, the department was closed and its head " retired." 1 know of many similar horror stories from various countries but most cannot be related here due to legal constraints. In short, archaeology remains today just as vicious as ever in guarding its political interests and power base. One of the most glaring recent examples of the academic maltreatment of an autodidact in Pleistocene archaeology is that of i\lexander Marshack (191 8-2004), an American writer who, when aged arou nd fifty, was assigned to write about Paleolithic art in Europe (Figure 7). l-lis archaeological knowledge at the time was negligible, but as a very original thinker he soon noticed that this body of evidence was studied by antiquated methods and in surprisingly unscientific ways. For instance, he developed a strong interest in the work ptocesses involved in engraved markings on decorated portable plaques, after realiz ing that they could tell us a great deal about the circumstances of these productions. ntil the 1970s, archaeologists had made no consistent use of microscopy in the study of archaeological work traces. The only exceptions were in Russia where S. A. Semenov had develo ped the ffilCroSCOPIC study of used stone tool edges in determining what Upper Paleolithic artifacts had been used for. J\1ars?,ack introduced ~is kind of technology to the study of portable art objects and called It Internal analYSIS. For the next thirty years he produced a large INTRODUCTION 25 series of exceptionally scholarly publications, explaining in painstaking detail how he deduced certain circumstances of the manufacture of early markings from optical microscopy. While it is true that all scientific evidence is presented for the purpose of review, and indeed, for falsification, it is equally true that Marshack's work was subjected to far more critical attention than that of comparable work by a professional archaeologist. Yet no significant part of his hypotheses was ever falsified, and particularly Francesco d'Errico, who had embarked on a sustained campaign to test Marshack's findings, ended up agreeing with them substantia ll y. Still, acceptance of these findings by the mainstream discipline was Figure 7: Alexander Marshack. always grudging, and farshack remained an outsider and was not accorded any formal recognition. This was not because his scholarship was in question, rather the reverse. His mistake was his scholarly and restrained tone of discourse, and that he sought to address the academics rather than the public. Nothing he could do and nothing he could present would ever change their attitudes to him, which were not governed by the merits of his work, but entirely by his Status as an amateur. His work and his findings are revolutionary for archaeology, and if they had come from an establishment archaeologist they would be valued and very weU received. Coming from a member of the archaeologically most despised group, the archaeological amateurs, they just had to be greeted with disdain, and ways had to be found to disprove them. A fter all, professional archaeologists were not in the business of accepting corrections by mere ama teurs. Dogged by Dogma Institutionalized archaeology is not some idealistic search for the truth about what happened in the human past, it is a ruthless oligarchy whose perceived territOry it can and does defend viciously. The enthusiasm many people experience for archaeology has cost them dearly, including in the second half of the 20th century. This period began with the introduction of radiocarbon dating, which shook the very foundations of archaeology because the chronological structures that had been built, often as mere houses of cards, began to be 26 THE FIRST MARINERS tested by scientific data. Many archaeologists objected to this vigorously, just as in recent years some archaeologists have vocally objected to attempts to estimate the ages of rock art by scientific means. This is well illustrated by the C6a controversy, which is in part concerned with the perception of some archaeologists that scientists "are trying to take over archaeology." This is a rather odd argument when we consider that rock art is not even an archaeological resource until its age is known. Without at least an idea of which archaeological period the art might belong to, there is absolutely nothing useful any archaeologist can possibly do with rock art. Archaeology, for better or for worse, is entirely dependent on a chronological framework, yet archaeologists have consistently shown that they are incapable of estimating the ages of rock art. But when in the 1980s scientists set about to heIp them with this, many archaeologists become as defensive as their colleagues who during the 1950s had suffered from acute radiocarbon-phobia. The reason for this extreme sensitivity is that the introduction of scientific methods in an unscientific pursuit, such as traditional archaeology or religion, is likely to produce at least some results that clash significantly with established dogma. But dogma provides security, stability, and its challenge involves loss of reputation, upheaval. It is not desirable for the discipline, which is not only an abstract academic entity, but also a vast power hierarchy lording over some 100,000 professional archaeologists worldwide-not to mention billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and funding. Its public reputation is based on just one singular factor: on the public perception of archaeologists being usually right. Being shown to have been substantially wrong is simply not a realistic option for such an establishment. In this light archaeology looks decidedly like a belief system whose influence depends on not being contradicted. Veracity of archaeological models is not the first priority, because if being corrected is perceived to involve any damage to professional crerlibility then it is unacceptable. The preservation of a false model is therefore preferable to the effects its exposure would have on its prestige, at least in the short term . It can deal with gradual correction, taking some decades to implement, but not with sudden upheaval. Therein lies the problem. The scope of the corrections I have in mind for archaeology i greatly beyond what the discipline could conceivably absorb in the short term. It seems fairly self-evident to me, and I hope to be able to demonstrate in this book, that my demands of reform in archaeology are justified and valid, but I don't really have the patience to wait for decades. I want these corrections implemented now, I demand a rarlical pararligm shift in the rliscipline, something it has never before experienced. But what I demand is almost impossible to achieve. It would mean that the textbooks have to be rewritten, that the rliscipline has to be re-invented. The established structures would never withstand such a hock. INTRODUCTION 27 This is where it is useful to recall the experiences of earlier heretics in archaeology. It is clear that those who relied on the perceived "self-correction" of the discipline were badly mistaken, and that those who did not oppose the establishment effectively went under-in fact we probably never heard about most of them. After all, the only ones we can expect to know about historically are those who managed to raise enough of a ruckus at the time. But there is another factor that emerges from a study of the above case histories. Those iconoclasts who had some limited success within a reasonable time did not restrict themselves to addressing the academic discipline; they deliberately sought to disseminate their ideas directly to the interested sector of the public. They wrote books intended for the interested public, and it was through pressure from their readers that the ivory tower dwellers of academia changed their spots. Darwin addressed the public, and even though he was an amateur par excellence, academics were restrained in their critique of him. Academics may appear to be aloof in so many ways, but they do know who underwrites their comfortable life style. Archaeology, in particular, remains an institutionalized hobby, it has never been anything else, and archaeologists, who produce nothing of economic worth, are well aware that their hobby is financed by the public. So if an amateur such as Darwin (or Louis Leakey, or whoever) had the ear of the public, tl1e academics also paid heed to him. This is amply evident from the treatment of those who secured the public'S attention. Dubois, de Sautuola and FulUrott, who tried so hard to address academia, wasted their breath by comparison. This is particularly obvious with Marshack, who made superhuman efforts to show academia that he had a good case, but being a scholar and a gentleman won him no recognition. Boucher de Perthes, by contrast, went public, no doubt he recognized the issue of transparency. I certainly have. For thirty years I wrote purely for the academics, reporting data, presenting hypotheses, berating my tenured "colleagues." Many have admitted ptivately that the theoretical base of my alternative archaeology is superior to what we have in place, but that the discipline simply was not ready for this. As I looked more closely at the history of the discipline, I began to understand that in archaeology, history really does repeat itself. Learning from the mistakes of Marshack and his predecessors, I recognized several key issues in the 1990s. For instance, a chance meeting ,vith a brilliant South African archaeologist who had turned his back on the academic discipline exposed for me the weak underbelly of that discipline. Professor ReviJ Mason, a rebel of archaeology if ever there was one, showed me a litany of published studies demonstrating that the discipline is to some degree run by people with severe personality defects, and he explained to me tl,at it is often the greatest scoundrels who rise to the highest positions. The C6a (portugal) furor of 1995 completed my conversion from unconditional devotee of archaeology to an opponent of its institutional and corporate power structure. Of 28 THE FIRST MARINERS particular concern to me was the involvement of professional archaeologists in many parts of the world in the vandalism and destruction of rock art, especially as agents of the state or of almighty resources companies. I found that if the dogma has precedence over veracity, simply to protect the reputation of celebrated scholars, then the discipline is worthless as a scientific force. Its purpose was then not an idealistic pursuit of knowledge, which I had naively assumed to be the sole purpose of the exercise, but the protection of the discipline's status and influence, which was perceived to depend on its ability to repel any challenges. But I also realized that one of the most debilitating characteristics of archaeology was its epistemological shallowness. As mentioned above, the Pleistocene cave art was consistently rejected by archaeology because it was ignorant of the fact that this corpus had been known for centuries, even as far back as Roman times. The rock art of the lower Coa valley was "discovered" by archaeologists in 1994, but in fact its existence had been known by the local people since its creation, and Jose Silverio de Campos Henriques Salgado de Andrade mentioned it in a book to which he contributed a chapter, published in 1940. The locals at the nearby petroglyph site Siega Verde even knew who made them in the early 20th century, yet the archaeologists, who "discovered" them in 1991, universally placed them in the Upper Paleolithic. This habit of ignoring existing knowledge about archaeology runs like a red thread though the discipline, I could list thousands of examples of it. By 1995 I departed quite deliberately from my previous, purely scholarly course, now thinking about how to present my work to the public. Many of my projects since then were intentionally targeted to affect public perception-how to project ideas in such a way that the public might find them interesting. I believe this is a good strategy, and that it will prevent me from becoming a misanthrope like Dubois, from curling up and dying like de Sautuola and from disappearing into oblivion like Fuhlrott. I find that lowe it to my beloved discipline, archaeology, to take its sometimes intellectually pathological and academically corrupt illuminati to task. CHAPTER - 2 THE DOMESTICATION OF EVE AND ADAM The Pleistocene, also known as the "Ice Ages," is the geological period during which the crucial stages of human evolution occurred, beginning about 1.7 million years ago and ending 10,500 years (10.5 ka) ago. Hominins-pre-human primates that are either precursors of the genus H OII/o, or may have been so-first evolved during the preceding Pliocene period, which lasted from 5.2 to 1.7 million years ago. Earlier contenders such as Sohelonthruplls tchodeflSis are even 7 million years old, but the Pliocene is the period during which the australopithecines flourished in Africa. They occurred in several forms, at least one of which is by some thought to be a human ancestor. By about 3.5 million years ago, KeI!yonthroplls ploryops, currently the earliest species thought to be directly ancestral to the human line, appeared in east Africa. Up until recent years, paleoanthropologists distinguished between the subfamilies of Hominoids, which were humans and their ancestors, and Anthropoids. The latter comprised chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutan, according to the old Linnean taxonomy. However, molecular D A studies have shown that humans, chimpanzees and gorillas are genetically closer to each other than each of them is to orangutans. Therefore we now distinguish the subfamilies Pongidae (orangutans) and Homininae (humans, their ancestors, chimpanzees and gorillas). The latter were then divided into Hominini (humans and their ancestOrs), Panini (chimpanzees and bonobos) and Gorillini (gorillas). Therefore a hOll/inin is a creature agreed to be either human or a potential human ancestor, such as the various species of Homo, AlIStrO/opitheclIs, PoronthroplIs or Ardipitbems. In the past, these were subsumed under the name "horninids," which now refers to what used to be known as "hominoids," i.e. those early species that seemed to be broadly related to the human line. 30 THE FIRST MARINERS African Beginnings 1n recent decades, a strong case has been mad e lor e horruruns .. to have initially evolved exclusively in Africa. The issue, however, needs to be regarded as unresolved, because the amount of research conducted in Asia since the mid-20th century has been lOadequate by comparison to the focus on Africa, especially eastern Africa. Prior to .the 1950s, ASIa shared with Africa the status of potential theatre of initial human evolution. While ASIan prePliocene primates such as Ramapithecus are no longer considered contenders as honurun ancestors, we need to be aware that there remain large gaps in our knowledge of human evolution. The available record is greatly biased, in terms of both preservation and relative research efforts. Hominin and other fossils are only found in those regions where geolOgIcal or other preservarion conrlitions favored their survival, and they are only found where we look for them. Recent rliscoveries in Asia, such as the remains of tiny humans on the Indonesian island of Flores and the Micronesian island Palau, or the flOds in Denisova Cave in Siberia and the eight human teeth in Qesem Cave, Israel, have shown that we have a g reat deal still to learn about hominin evolution, especially in Asia. Finds from two Chinese sites, in Renzi Cave, Anhui Province, and in the Nihewan basin, imply that stone tools there may be as old as 1.77 to 2.25 million years. If these dates were correct, the origins of the earliest undisputed human ancestor, Homo erectus, would remain unresolved: he may have originated in either or both continents, Africa and Asia. While the African record would seem to favor an initial emergence of the horninin line in that continent, even in Africa the course of human evolution is far from clear. For instance, the earliest species named there that seems to be ancestral to humans is SahelaflthroplIs tchadellSis, a species from Chad with a braincase resembling that of a chimpanzee, but with more human-like teeth and a strongly developed brow ridge, a creature thought to have walked upright. If this is a human ancestor, it questions the evolutionary role of the later australopithecines. Orronll Illgenellsis from Kenya, at about 6 million years, is a million years more recent, and also challenges the Status of the australopithecines as contenders of human ancestry. Orronfl was clearly bipedal and had a mixed rliet that included meat, but acceptance of its hominin status also contrarlicts the so-called "molecular clock" prediction that humans and chimpanzees split about 5 million years ago. The position of the current two Ardipithecus species, Ardipilhecus ralll/dus and Ardipithectls kadabba, also remains controversial. They lived about 4.4 million years ago, like the precerling species in forests rather than savannas, and since they also walked upright this seems to contrarlict the hypothesis that bipedalism is a response .to reduction of Woodlands. A revolutionary view of the origins of bipedalism is that It denves from tile neotenization of humans rather than environmental causes. Moreover, there is rlisagreement over whether ArdipitheClis is on the human or chimpanzee side after the split, which does not encourage much confidence in these various pronouncements. THE DOMESTICATION OF EVE AND ADAM 31 The gracile australopithecines commence about 4.2 rniIlion years ago. With a brain little more than a third the size of a modern human, they were certainly bipedal, as especially the Laetoli tracks amply demonstrate, but they remained rather chimpanzee-like creatures. It is unlikely that they possessed complex verbal communication. The Makapansgat cobble, found among their remains in the filling of a dolomite cave in South Africa (Figure 6), may perhaps not have been deposited by them, but by a contemporary human such as KCI!yol1thropJls plotyops. The australopithecines are represented by several species, AJlsfrolopitheCJIs OI1OIJle!1sis (4.2-3.9 rniIlion years ago), A. oforemis (3.6--2.9 mya), A. afriCOIIJlS (3-2 mya), A. bohrelghozoli and A. gorhi (c. 2.5 mya). The latter species has been found together with stone tools and butchered animal remains and has been suggested to link australopithecines to the hominin line. In view of the common use of tools by modern chimpanzees there can be little doubt that tool use was increasing during the long reign of the australopithecines. A particularly interesting aspect of the gracile australopithecines is that they apparently evolved into the robust forms, now subsumed under the genus Porol1thropllS. They were more muscular and their skeletal remains are somewhat larger and more robust, and they developed alongside human species, beginning about fWO million years ago, in the very last part of the Pliocene period. There is again much disagreement concerning the status of the genus; some researchers see it as too primitive to compete with the contemporary Homo species, but it has also been shown to have used Oldowan-type stone tools, and one species, Porol1throplIs robllStllS, is credited with using both advanced tools and fire at Swartkrans, South Africa. Interestingly, this has been explained away as being evidence of imitation of human behavior, an unlikely explanation that we will encounter again towards the end of the human ascent. The two other PorollthroplIs species currently distinguished are P boisei (2.3-1.4 mya) and P aethiopiClis. (2.7-2.3 mya). Much ink has been spilt over the introduction of the controlled use of fIre, and again much of this debate has been unnecessary and uninformed. The currently earliest such evidence consists of a large hearth deep in Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa, around 1.7 rniIlion years old, which I helped Peter Beaumont, its discoverer (yet another non-archaeologist), to excavate (Figure 8). Kef!yoll/hrop"s platyops lived about 3.5 to 3.3 million years ago and has been proposed by some to be human, perhaps ancestral to HOfflO hobilis. Others prefer to include K platyops with the australopithecines, suggesting that the species is not distinctive enough to warrant having its own genus. On tl1e other hand, some prefer to group HOlllo mdo/femis \vith this genus, calling it Kef!yoll/hrop"s mdo/fel1sis. The fully human species that existed alongside australopithecines and then later coincided with Paroll/hrop"s were Homo habilis, H. mdo/fellsis and H. ergos/er. H. mdo/fel1sis dates from about 2.5 to 1.9 rniIlion years ago, and the roughly contemporary H. habilis lived 2.3 to 1.6 32 THE FIRST MARINERS Figure 8: Currently earliest hearth in the world: in Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa, 1.7 million years old. million years ago. umerous stone tools of the Oldowan tradition have been found with the latter's temains, and were probably also used by the former. Some researchers consider them a single species, but it is more widely thought that they were too different. There is much unresolved speculation about which of the rwo, if any, was the ancestor of the subsequent hOminins, but H. mdolfellsis seems more developed. The H. habilis brain of 650 cm I volume was considerably larger than the average AlIstra!opitheCIIs brain, and the brain shape was more human-like. In one of its endocasts (brain-casts), the bulge of Broca's area, related to the motor control of speech, is visible, suggesting that the species may have been capable of some verbal communication. That may be confirmed by the find of an australopithecine infant's hyoid bone (essential for speech) at Dikika in 2006. The brain size of H. rudOIfeIlSis, with an average cranial capacity of 750 cm ' (the modern average is 1350 cm', ranging from 900 to 1880 cm ', that of australopithecines ranges from 400 to 545 cm) , considerably exceeds that of H. habilis. H. mdolfellsis brains show a pattern that may be related to handedness and tool-use or manufacture. The degree of cranial asymmetry also appear to increase in later hominins. The endocast of the type specimen of H. mdolfellsis, M-ER 1470, shows a somewhat more complex and modern-human_like third inferior frontal Convolution compared with those of pongids. This is one of the few Sources of '. . ~ THE DOMESTICATION OF EVE AND ADAM 33 information we have of the evolutionary reorganization of the brain, because the area it concerns includes Broca's area. Unfortunately, later hominin endocasts, from H . babilis and H . erectlls through archaic H. sapiel1S to the present, seldom show the sulcal and gyral patterns faithfully. With regard to brain reorganization, left-right cerebral hemispheric asymmetries exist in extant pongids and the australopithecines, but neither the pattern nor direction is as strongly developed as in modern or fossil humans. Sexual climorphism, the strong clifferences of the sexes apparent in the early hominins, reduced gradually with the australopithecines, and by the time of HOflloergaster(cranial volume 848 to 908 cm') had largely clisappeared. This species existed between 1.9 and 1.2 million years ago and it heralds significant changes, such as the production of typologically clistinctive stone tools, most importantly bifaces (the famous hand axes). It is also the first that can be shown conclusively to have existed outside Africa, although the matter of possible previous human colonizers in Asia remains open. The Asian lacunae .~ In particular, several human remains from Dmanisi, Georgia, which are referred to as H omo georgictls, 1.7 million years old and with a brain ranging from 600 to 780 cm' , seem to be closer to H. babilis than to H. ergaster. lore importantly, the stone tools at Dmanisi are of the Oldowan cobble tool type, not of the Acheulian associated with H. ergaster. Moreover, the very much more recen t H. jloresiellsis remains from I ndonesia have also been claimed to show affinity with the Dmanisi remains, although this remains a controversial "species." The earliest supposedly hominin remains we have currently from sia are the late Pliocene manclibular fragment with two teeth and a single maxillary incisor from the Longgupo Cave site in China. Thought to be between 1.96 and 1.78 million years old and found \vith two stone tools, this also questions the sole African development of early humans. Homo ereettls appears around 1.8 million years ago with a brain capacity of about 850 cm' , but its late representatives, in the order of 500 ka (500,000 years) old or perhaps even more recent, ranged from 1100 to 1250 cm', i.e. well \vithin the range of modern humans. The increase occurs without any apparent change in body size, H. erecttls is roughly of modern height. The species' fossils occur widely in Africa and Asia (at 15 sites in China alone), but European claims of its occurrence are rejected by many scholars. D espite a considerable number of hominin fossils from the Midclle Pleistocene, the subsequent evolutionary history of humans in Asia defining the gracling of H. erechls into archaic H omo sapiC/ls remains unclear. Chinese fossils of early archaic H. sapiells of erectoid features are those from Xujiayao, Dingcun, Yunxia, Yenshan and the D ali cranium which is already of tl1e early Late Pleistocene, but still of very robust features. The maxilla from 34 THE FIRST MARINERS Wanlongdong at Changyang is of similar age, and is similarly archaic. The picture becomes even more confusing when we consider the only two Indian finds, of the last part of the Middle Pleistocene and found with a rich assemblage of Acheulian tools. The Hathnora calotte from the Narmada valley was initially described as a late H. ereetlls, and while its thick torus, postorbital constriction and bone thickness do suggest this, the vault is far too well rounded and of exceptional size (Figure 9). At approximately 1300 cm3 it is not only above the range of H. erectlls, it is even high for a H. sapiens, since it is thought to be of a female in her thirties. Only the right half of the cranium, with zygomatic arch, right torus and right part of occipital are intact. The second Indian specimen, from the same site and stratum, but from another individual and perhaps another species, is an adult clavicle that suggests a body size of little over a meter. Combined with the recently discovered dwarf populations from Flores and Palau, this serves to underline the extremely fragmentary nature of our evidence of hominin evolution in Asia. This is particularly unfortunate because the current cultural evidence suggests that some of the major developments in non-physical human evolution occurred in southern Asia. Certainly the large number of finds in Africa and eastern Asia, beginning with the late Pliocene, demand that southern Asia must have been occupied for at least two million years. The recent discovery of stratified Olduwan cobble tool industries, particularly in the basal layer of Daraki-Chattan, central India, adds a Narmada, India Figure 9: The Hathnora calotte from Narmada valley, central India. THE DOMESTICATION OF EVE AND ADAM 35 tantalizing note to this scenario (see Chapter 3). The most parsimonious interpretation of the data as it stands appears to be that pre-H. eree/tlS horninins were established in both southern and eastern Asia. Further east, again in Java, there is a second group of very robust hominins, from the much younger High Solo Gravels. At the main site, 19andong, fourteen partial or complete crania and other remains have been found since 1931, variously described as H. eree/lls s%el1sis or as archaic H. sapiells. A set of electron spin resonance and uranium-series dates for these deposits (from animal teeth) suggest ages ranging from 53 to 27 ka, but these are controversial. An age of about 300 ka, obtained directly from human remains is much more realistic. Whatever the case, these finds are more properly assigned to robust H. sapiens. One of the most challenging horninin finds is the recently discovered Homo jloresimsis, thought by most to be an endemic species of one Indonesian island, Flores. This is a dwarf form, little more than one meter tall, with a cranial volume of only 380 em' . It lived there in the second half of the Late Pleistocene, up to 13 ka ago, and stone tools found with it appear to be of Upper Paleolithic technology. I had established before its discovery tint H. ereetlls had reached Flores before the Middle Pleistocene (i.e. before 780 ka ago), and subsequently also colonized Timor. This incredible feat of seafaring was almost certainly accomplished by bamboo raft, as I will try to demonstrate later in this book. Dwarfing of large mammalian species is a very common process among isolated island populati ns, and this renders it possible that H. jloresiensis developed locally over a period exceeding 700 ka. However, the issue remains highly controversial, and there are potential alternative scenarios. It has been suggested that the Flores dwarfs, dubbed "Hobbits," resemble Homo georgjclls more than another known hominin, while others insist that they are simply a microcephalic population, or even that they are apes. But in view of one other known Asian dwarf of the Pleistocene, one of the two Narmada specimens, it seems more likely that there are far too many lacunae in our knowledge and understanding of human evolution in Asia to explain the issue at this stage. We cannot even be sure that Asia was initially settled in the late Pliocene from Africa, perhaps it played a greater role than currently believed. This possibility is highlighted not only by the inadequate state of our knowledge; there are controversial claims for several earlier Asian stone tool assemblages. An objective review shows unambiguously that there are toO many pieces of the puzzle missing at present. If we could re-focus our attention on Asia for the next century, the picture might become