Archaeologists find evidence of prehistoric recycling efforts

Written By: Thatcher Michelsen September 26, 2012 0
According to Spanish archaeologists, prehistoric man may have recycled their tools for reuse.
According to Spanish archaeologists, prehistoric man may have recycled their tools for reuse.

Think you're alone in the world as you head to the local recycling center? According to a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Study that was written by a group of Spanish researchers, evidence exists of recycling habits demonstrated by prehistoric humans.

The notion that our ancestors would reuse certain things began after archaeologists working at Moli del Salt region near Tarragona, Spain, found tools that appeared to have been burnt in the process of remaking. The research site has been traced back to a prehistoric society that existed nearly 13,000 years ago. Some of the items seemed to be wrought from older tools once they had been worn down, reworked into different yet still effective instruments.

"This indicates that a large part of these tools were not conceived from the outset as double artefacts but a single tool was made first and a second was added later when the artifact was recycled," one of the researchers noted in the report.

The group of scientists also suggested that some of the items found could come from different societies of humans. They theorized that migratory communities may have discovered older settlements and refashioned the tools they came upon. While the researchers can never truly figure out why our ancestors may have undertaken these actions, it's possible they did so to conserve the supplies they had on hand.

"It bears economic importance too, since it would have increased the availability of lithic resources, especially during times of scarcity," the authors noted in the article.

Future study at the Moli del Salt excavation site could focus on comparing artifacts from there with others discovered throughout the region and abroad. By doing so, archaeologists may be able to ascertain if this was a unique habit or if recycling is an action that humans are predisposed to perform.

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