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Old String - Rethinking History

Much like we tend to think of ancient Europe as all white because Greek and Roman sculptures lost their paint jobs, we think of Neanderthals as more primitive than us because we survived whereas they didn't. In that same train of thought, since being able to identify colors and digitally recreating these bleached sculptures we have learned just how diverse ancient world really was. Now a study has been published in Scientific Reports which describes the finding of the oldest known string.

It was discovered in a cave in France under a stone tool. It is an incredibly lucky find since perishable materials don't usually last that long. This cord demonstrates Neanderthals' knowledge of the natural world, mathematical skills, and overall cognitive abilities. Such string could have been used in making clothing, bags, nets, even boats. Say goodbye the image of them only wearing animal skins! Say hello to Neanderthal fashion week! All joking aside this is an amazing find.

It seems they used the inner bark of surrounding trees to make these ropes. Three individual strands were spun in "S-twist" and then plied together with "Z-twist", making it a true 3 ply Z-twist. I love to sping yarn. The image below is linked to a very interesting article about how knitting and crocheting effects twist published on the Yarnsub website.

It has always fascinated me to think of people long gone making useful things out of fluff in the exact same way I do today. I could have never imagined having this personal connection with humanoid species which died out about 40,000 years ago.


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