Originally, according to most scientists, early humans produced everything they needed to live in the same place for a long time. From school books, for example, we know the illustrations of hairy families of prehistoric people sitting together around the fire on the meadow in front of a cave entrance and scraping leather, cutting up meat, making clothes and working stone tools. Everyone took care of what came up, only what the group needed was produced. An almost idyllic scenery.
Real workshops didn't exist until quite late in human history: "The separation of specific activities in different places indicates the ability to plan, and according to previous opinion, this has only characterized humans for 500,000 years," says one article by the Italian-Spanish research team led by Margherita Mussi and Giuseppe Briatico. But that may not be true, as a new discovery suggests.
The research team led by Mussi and Briatico examined a site in Ethiopia, in a valley near the Awash River. People were already active there 1.2 million years ago - and professionally manufactured hand axes from hard, sharp obsidian. Much sooner than previously thought. The scientists write: "We have reconstructed the primeval landscape here and were able to show that the area was regularly flooded. After the river had washed up a lot of obsidian pebbles, early humans began to use them in new ways, they provided large tools sharp edges."
And not just for your own needs. "We show through statistical analysis that this was a specialized activity, producing very standardized hand axes. This was a stone tool workshop." It can be assumed that the high-quality hand axes were traded and exchanged for other products. Something that people would only have expected much later. The scientists therefore put forward the thesis: "The early humans here did much more than just react to changes in their environment. They consciously took advantage of new opportunities and developed new techniques and skills."