Author Topic: (pre-) History of strings and knots  (Read 1498 times)


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(pre-) History of strings and knots
« on: April 16, 2014, 11:58:35 PM »
   Metamorphology: in lieu of uniformitarianism

   We have almost no remains of strings, ropes or thongs from the Pleistocene (the exceptions being the finds described by Leroi-Gourhan and Allain 1979; Nadel et al. 1994), and none at all of knotting technology which would be needed to render cordage technologically useful (Warner and Bednarik 1996). Does this mean that knots and strings were not used? Of course not. In fact we have some indirect evidence, however sparse. A few of the supposedly female figurines of the Upper Palaeolithic seem to wear plaited or twisted cordage of some sort, especially specimens from Pavlov and Kostenki (Bednarik 1990; Marshack 1991). Even complex methods of weaving have recently been demonstrated from the Czech early Upper Palaeolithic. Hafting of stone tools with resin was certainly used by Neanderthals, and may have involved strings (Mania and Toepfer 1973; Shea 1988, 1990). More importantly, perforated objects were almost certainly used together with strings and knots, irrespective of whether they served decorative or utilitarian purposes. They, as well as certain other evidence I have listed elsewhere, suggest the use of strings and knots at least 300 000 years ago (Bednarik 1992a).

BEDNARIK, R. G. 1990. More to Palaeolithic females than meets the eye. Rock Art Research 7: 133-7.
BEDNARIK, R. G. 1992a. Palaeoart and archaeological myths. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 2(1): 27-43.
LEROI-GOURHAN, A. and J. ALLAIN 1979. Lascaux inconnu. CNRS, Paris.
MANIA, D. and V. TOEPFER 1973. Koenigsaue: Gliederung, Oekologie und mittelpalaeolithische Funde der letzten Eiszeit. VEB Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin.
MARSHACK, A. 1991. The female image: a 'time-factored' symbol. A study in style and aspects of image use in the Upper Palaeolithic. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 57: 17-31.
NADEL, D., A. DANIN, E. WERKER, T. SCHICK, M. E. KISLEV and K. STEWART 1994. 19 000-year-old twisted fibers from Ohalo II. Current Anthropology 35: 451-7.
SHEA, J. 1988. Spear points from the Middle Palaeolithic of the Levant. Journal of Field Archaeology 15: 441-50.
SHEA, J. 1990. A further note on Mousterian spear points. Journal of Field Archaeology 17: 111-4.
WARNER, C. and R. G. BEDNARIK 1996. Pleistocene knotting. In J. C. Turner and P. van de Griend (eds), History and science of knots, pp. 3-18. Series on Knots and Everything No. 11, World Scientific Publishing, Singapore.

   By the same author :
...the use of cordage also suggests the use of knots, because a string needs to be closed to form a loop to be effective. Although the ends of a string may be joined by means other than a knot, e.g. by the use of adhesive or by plaiting, these alternative means are either impracticable or they are technologically even more complex than the use of knotting (Warner and Bednarik 1996).

   See also :

   The Prehistory of Knots
   Charles Warner, Pieter van de Griend
   Knotting Matters 57, 1997
   Prehistoric string theory. How twisted fibres helped to shape the world.
   Karen Hardy, 2008

« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 12:14:06 AM by xarax »
This is not a knot.