Origins: The earliest carpenter.

Glenn Morton (
Thu, 03 Oct 1996 20:15:38

I just ran across two very fascinating articles which highlight the conceptual
abilities of early humans. I am reporting on one of these tonight. It is S.
Belitszky et al, "A Middle Pleistocene Wooden Plank with man-made Polish,"
Journal of Human Evolution, 1991, 20:349-353.

It seems that a wooden plank with one polished surface was found at an
Acheulian site, Gesher Benot Ya'aqov (GBY) in the Northern Jordan Valley of
Israel. The artifact is 25 cm long, 13.5 cm wide and 4.0 cm thick, broken off
at each end. The sediments containing the plank lie above a basalt that dates
at 800,000 years, and the sediments themselves contain an extinct mollusc
which is not found above any surface which dates less than 240,000 years.
Since the sediments are normally magnetized it means that the sediment is less
than 750,000 years. Thus the polished plank dates from 240-750,000 years old.

This plank was planed from a fairly large branch. In English units, it is 10
inches long, 5 inches wide and 1.5 inches thick. The branch had to be at
least 5 inches in diameter.

Here is the conundrum for Christians. During this time period (or for YECs in
rocks with these dates) no known anatomically modern humans are found. The
date range means that the plank was made and polished by either an archaic
homo sapiens or a Homo erectus! This is a human-like activity.

The authors of the article conclude with this:

"In other Acheulian sites, in Africa , Europe and Asia, worked wood items were
identified, though no polished artefacts have been previously recorded.
"Thus it is possible that we have underestimated the capacities of the
Middle Pleistocene hominids and further 'unconventional' discoveries may cause
us to revise our opinion of their abilities." p. 352

The reference to Asia above was to an article about an Acheulian plank from
Japan (unpolished- P. G. Bahn, 1987, Excavation of a Palaeolithic plank from
Japan, Nature 329, 110.

Foundation,Fall and Flood