Sunday, June 30, 2013


Inspired by a friend's post, and with a prehistoric nod to the royal baby due soon...

+/- 2,000,000 years ago, African river valley

It was wet. Dripping soaking wet. The grasses were soaked, making walking difficult, cold. The ground under the grasses was thick with mud. And still the waters fell from up. This was not common. They were headed for a dry rocky overhang in the hills across a stream.
Tey searched the group of just over a hand of fingers struggling through the wet day. Tey saw his aging mother, then his sister, Grah who was big with a coming baby. Walking slightly ahead, was his sister’s mate, Ahrr, who was older than Tey and the biggest of the group. Running and playing were two young ones who fed themselves, but still needed help often.Old Er, who had only three teeth left, came up behind. Tey stayed near his mother out of habit. Long since weaned, he still saw the look on his mothers face when he had romped around as he learned to walk and call her.
The water continued and soon they came to the muddy sides of the stream they had wanted to cross. It was much bigger than before, brown and running fast. Arhh crouched down in the mud. They all crouched down around him, sniffing the air for danger. It was almost impossible to hear anything coming, with the roaring and gurgling of the water.
Arhh stood up, looked around once more, and then headed across the water. One of the younger ones, being adventurous, escaped the hold of Grah and chased after Arhh. His cry of delight in the water soon turned to a scream of pain as the water knocked him down onto rocks. Helplessly, he was tossed down the rushing, angry stream. Arhh, hearing this, tried to catch the youngster. In doing so, he tripped and fell into the water. After a terrible short scream, he floated away limply; face down in the dirty torrent.
Grah called helplessly after him and would have gone to him, but Tey grabbed her and threw her on the ground. She was carrying a baby and they had just lost one. Still screaming, Tey held her down. His mother came over and started rubbing the big baby bump, crooning “Bah bah bah…bah bah bah”
As Grah quieted down, Tey stood up and looked around. He sniffed the air. The water from upwards was stopping. The stream continued to be strong and fierce. Tey grabbed a long branch that had floated down. He tested it against the flowing stream. It gave some support and was not too big to hold. He grabbed the other youngster who was quietly mourning the loss of his sibling, and put him on his hip. The youngster was heavy, but Tey was strong. Using the branch, he carefully felt his way across. The rocks were slippery and big. Finally getting across, he dropped the youngster.
Turning around he saw that his mother and Grah were doing the same thing. Old Er stood patiently, making no move to cross over. Tey started back. His mother and sister were going slow but seemed safe. Tey reached the muddy bank again and extended his hand to Er, who took it slowly. They made their way across, carefully. Grah and his mother were almost to the far bank. Tey was getting very tired now, and slipped a little. Er held steady.
Suddenly there was a painful cry. Grah was on the bank, holding mother. His mother was trying to climb up, but one foot was not coming out of the stream. When Grah pulled, she screamed. Tey and Er did their best to get there faster, both slipping several times on the large boulders they could not see. Tey came along side his mother. He still held the branch and Er. Looking at his mother’s eyes, seeing the pain, he wanted to help stop that pain.  He saw in his head that he was now the leader, with Arhh being gone. And Grah would need help with the baby. Mother could help. He let go of Er and grabbed his mother. Er grabbed once for the branch, then slipped. He too, went down the wild ride of the surging brook. Tey could not be sure, but he thought he heard Er cry out, “Bah bah bah…” as he disappeared from view.
Feeling with his foot, Tey could sense that his mother’s foot was caught between two rocks. He kicked at one of them, crying out as he broke his toes. His kick loosed the rock and as he and Grah pulled, his mother climbed onto the shore and collapsed on the wet rock. Grah stood, holding the hand of the young one. Tey limped painfully to mother and helped her up. Her foot was bleeding, but it did not look too bad. Together, the small band of one hand of fingers scrambled up to the rocky over hang.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Giant Stone Axe

… the discovery of the first of what are believed to be the world’s largest stone tools on the bed of the lake...Four giant stone hand axes, measuring over 30 cm long and of uncertain age, were recovered from the lake basin.


Maybe 100,000 years ago, the dry basin of Lake Makgadikgadi in the Kalahari Desert.

Waki was almost finished. He was relieved and yet a little sad.  He was relieved because this work had taken time and was heavy. His back ached and his fingers were raw, and cut in some places. He was sad because it meant his son was now a man, and would face a man’s dangers.
He squinted at the sun.  It was starting down.  When night came this stone axe, a gift for his son, would be finished.  Waki adjusted his feet amongst the flint chips, barely noticing yet another small cut.  When a man worked the stone as Waki did, a man got cut.
There was a noise in back with the people.  Waki’s mate and children, her sister and her mate, their children, and Waki’s younger brother were the people.  His mate’s mother had been with them until the last rainfall, when she had fallen asleep for the last time.  They were a small people, but all was well as they hunted along the lake. 
The noise grew louder; Waki’s mate was wailing. Waki lifted his head, then stood up slowly, his aching knees refusing to move as fast as he needed them to.  He walked to the people.  His brother was dragging a long tall animal behind him.  It was lean and brown, with fresh blood…as he got closer, Waki saw that it was his son. One look and he could see that his son, who had been Waga, had gotten too close to a lion.  Waki looked at his brother.
“Grothr” the one word made sense.  A female lion, probably protecting her young.
Waki hung his head.  He couldn’t look at his wailing mate, or his other children. Instead, he went back to his stones.  He picked up the stone axe he had been shaping as a fine gift for Waga.  
He finished it, hearing the heart wrenching wails of his mate until the sun was almost down.  He picked up the fine stone axe.  Large because Waga was large.  Large because Waki felt a great sense of goodness for his young man-son.  He went to Waga’s still body.  Over the head he held the great stone axe.  He lifted it to the sky and his bellow to the sky was bloodcurdling.  He roared again, shaking the axe against the twilight and the quiet stars. He turned, and purposefully strode to the edge of the lake.  In sorrow, anger and unanswered rage he threw the stone axe to the bottom.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Oracle Stone


Alexandria, Egypt  +/-200 BCE
         Phatha wondered why Damianos had him wait here in this warm room, especially without water.  He had items and information specifically intended for Damianos. The room got warmer as the day progressed. Phatha was sweating and pacing when Damianos and his aide, Esdras, finally came in. Phatha went down on one knee and offered up the scroll and small satchel he had carried.
            "Greetings, Dear Phatha. Rise, rise! I am so very sorry you had to wait, but there were other pressing matters." As Phatha rose Damianos kissed him on both cheeks. "Forgive my lack of hospitality; one forgets these things here in Alexandria"  With a snap of his fingers a slave came in, placing a large jug of water and a bowl of apples on the table. Esdras made not a move, but kept his eyes on Phatha.
            Phatha again extended the items but Damianos stalled him. "I know, I know, it is important. But please”, he indicated the table, "first drink, eat; you must be parched"
            "I thank you." Phatha took the jug and drank long. The water was cool and surprisingly sweet. As he drank, Damianos snapped his fingers again and the slave brought in chairs, first for Damianos, then Esdras, and finally Phatha. After he had finished he wiped his mouth and looked again at Damianos.
            "Better? Good, please, let us sit so we can see what our dear Phatha has brought us" Damianos extended his right hand. Into it Phatha placed the sealed scroll and satchel.  Damianos broke the seal and read the contents, the smile never leaving his face. "Ah, from my father in Delphi. He sends his greetings and wishes me health!" Damianos chuckled, then crumpled the large scroll. Phatha was still sweating, but not from the heat now. He had seen the contents of the scroll before it had been sealed. Damianos' father could no longer send greetings to anyone but the ferryman crossing the Styx.
            Phatha took the jug and drank some more water, hoping it would conceal his shaking.
Damianos looked at him keenly, picking up the satchel. Esdras said not a word, but kept watching Phatha. Damianos opened the satchel and a small green stone fell into his hand.
            "Interesting!" Damianos exclaimed. "Look Esdras, it is the Delphic Stone from my childhood. See, you toss it onto the table and discern your fortune from the letter inscribed. Do try it." Esdras took the proffered stone and examined it. From across the table Phatha could see the stone had been shaped and gold inscribed into the letters. Esdras tossed it gently onto the table where it rolled and stopped, showing a fancy Alpha.
            "Excellent! You shall have much success my friend." It seemed Damianos could do nothing but smile. He turned to Phatha. "Your turn! Let's see what your future holds"
Phatha could do nothing but try. He picked up the cool stone. Clearly someone had spent time making this small wonder. He let it roll. Theta.
            "Oh dear how dreadful! Theta stands for thanatos, death, my dear Phatha. Do roll again!" Phatha had paled. He picked up the stone, hands visibly shaking. The stone made an ominous clunk-clunk-clunk on the table. Theta.
            "Well, it is but a child's toy, so do not worry, dear Phatha. Please, have an apple or two. I've more business so dinner will be delayed." With that, both Damianos and Esdras stood up. Esdras was still watching Phatha, but now he smiled.
            "As you wish" Phatha stood and bowed his head.  Damianos and Esdras exited and closed the door. Phatha could hear the quiet thunk from outside that meant he was locked in. Absently, Phatha grabbed and apple and took a bite. Who had betrayed him? He picked up the crumpled scroll and perused it. In an addendum that had not been there before, it was made clear. The apple was good, if a bit soft. He took another bite; this one was softer and tasted badly. Looking at the apple, he could see blackness around what could have been a wormhole. He spat it out.
            In anger, he threw the Delphic Stone on the floor. Theta. He kicked it. Theta. As his strength left him and he fell to the floor he flicked it one last time. Theta.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Makapansgat Face

I first discovered this a few days ago in the wonderful post by Abroad in the Yard:

 Wikipedia on Makapansgat Pebble

 My take on how this fist-sized cobble found its way at least 4 kilometers away from its natural source to a cave which has evidence of habitation by Australopithecus africanus.  The biggest challenge in writing something like this is the aspect of the language.  While they must have communicated somehow, it certainly wasn't in English, nor in complete sentences.  As I did with the Ancient Meat Eaters post, I'll write below my take of the concepts of this individual.

South Africa, +/- Two and Half Million Years Ago

She walked through the brush slowly.   In her left arm she carried her new young, suckling him occasionally.   Her mate was behind her, poking around the grasses for roots.  The sun was getting bright and hot.  She was thirsty, and was relieved to hear the stream running ahead of her.
With a soft call to her mate, she walked ahead to the stream. 
She knew this place, and had come here before.  The shore was rocky and hurt her feet unless she walked very slowly.  On one end the grasses grew thick and high.  She carefully picked her way here, sniffing the air as she did so.  It smelled safe. She listened carefully; there were no dangerous sounds.
 Once at the grasses she grabbed a handful with her free hand and bent them.  Then she did this again.  As they got lower she started stepping on them and mashing them further down. She stepped in this and made sure it was to her liking.  Bending down she took her sleeping infant and put him in the nest.  For a moment she stayed on all four limbs, looking down at him. 
Standing up and turning around, she sniffed the air again.  Cautiously, she walked to the water.  A little way above her, the stream fell over a few rocks. Here though, it flowed gently, making a small pool before continuing down to the tall place.  Stooping on all fours again, she looked at the water.  The water was strange, showing another who she didn't know.  This one always did what she did.  They smelled and tasted like water...not dangerous.  She dipped her hand into the water and brought it to her mouth eagerly, drinking and sucking her fingers.  She did this again, turning back to check on her infant as she drank.  Her mate joined her, going straight to the stream, ignoring the infant.
The last time she drank she startled, a short bark escaping her dripping mouth.  In the water was another one. This one seemed to grin at her, then scowl as the water flowed over it.  For some time she watched this one.  Her mate had alerted to her call, standing and sniffing the air about him. When he saw her staring at the water, he relaxed.  He sidled over to her and tried to see what had her attention so focused.  Cautiously, she poked a finger in the water.  The other one disappeared for a moment, then came back.  She poked again this time touching it.  It was hard, a rock.  Perhaps this one was stone.  She put her entire hand in the water and touched it.  Round, smooth except for the face, it fit in her hand comfortably.  She closed her fingers around the stone one and brought it out of the water.
This time a real scream escaped her.  This one was like blood.  In fear she stumbled to her two feet and fell backwards.  She scrambled to her infant who had woken at her scream and was now crying.
Her mate looked at this one, and touched it.  He picked it up, then with a grunt, tossed it back to the ground.  He stood up and went back to the grasses, eternally searching for food.
For some time she sat with her infant suckling him.  She sniffed the air for danger, but sensed nothing.  Yet something was different.
After a while her infant slept again.  Putting him gently into the nest, she crawled over to the stone one.  It wasn't as deep as blood now. She touched it then picked it up, looking at it.  Hard and still, it looked back at her.  It was somehow familiar, like one who had been gone a long time.
She sniffed the stone one, then tasted it.  The stone one didn't move.  She held it for a long time, then put it near her sleeping infant.
Taking a final drink from the stream, she stood up on her two feet and sniffed the air again.  She listened intently for animal sounds.  It was quiet.  She gathered her sleeping infant in her left arm and stood up to leave.
After a moment, she bent down and picked up the Stone One.  She had to find her mate, and take the Stone One to the other ones.  Many times on the way back to the safe place she looked at the Stone One.  And it always looked back at her.

What follows is my take on her thoughts, which I feel would be more like concepts.

Hot, thirsty. Safe. Baby safe. Thirsty. Thirsty place near. Mate!  Need all limbs, put baby safe.
Stop thirsty, see other one, stop thirsty.  Different one! Danger? Different one still...hard. Hold this one.  Blood! Blood! Danger! Baby baby! Baby safe. Baby safe.  No danger.  Different one...not blood. Different one...know? Stop thirst. Baby. Different one...take to safe place.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Ancient footprints in Pyrenees Cave
Image from

I cannot wait for July 17, when the findings from this interesting and informative project are released!  I'm going on the presumption (for now) these are ancient Homo Sapiens prints.  If the results are that they're Neanderthal, well then that's another blog! Update: another article about these prints dated them to 13000 years that takes care of any Neanderthal prints. Dern it...

Cave in the Pyrenees, +/- 13,000 years ago

The sun was going down, but there was still time to finish the meet, and walk to the fires.  Mato and Vako stood still, pondering.  Vako's son of nine winters, Vaki, walked back and forth, practicing his spear stance.  Mato stood quietly, looking at the cave floor.  His held his spear in his quiet hand, gripping it firmly.  Vako saw that Mato put weight on the foot and spear side.  Mato would not say it, but he was was getting tired.  As Mato had no sons any more, Vako and his son Vaki were next to lead. 
Vako turned his head to the lowering sun again, still waiting for Mato to speak.   Vaki continued pacing back and forth.  At length he stopped and wandered to the Wall of the Old Ones.  Mato's father, and his father before him had left their Hands on the Wall.  Vaki reached out to measure his hand against one of them.
"Ssst!" hissed Vako.  Vaki turned and his father was signaling for him to sit down.  Vaki did so, he hadn't planned to touch the handprints...that was taboo, and would bring bad luck to the Leader.  
Mato glanced up, broken from his thoughts.  He shook his head sadly at the boy, but there was just a glimmer of a smile.  Mato had understood it was just curiosity.
With a heavy sigh, Mato walked over.  He gestured with his working hand for Vaki to leave. Vaki was already on his feet before glancing at his father.  Vako reached out and put a strong hand on Vaki's shoulder, ushering him outside the cave.
Mato stood in front of the Wall of the Old Ones.  Something in him knew he could touch the hands now.  Looking to be sure Vaki and Vako could not see him, he reached out.  He touched his father's hand, now smaller than his own.  He touched his father's father's hand, which was even smaller.  Mato touched all the hands on the Wall of the Old Ones.  He felt like a huge weight had been lifted. 
Quietly, he pulled out the rolled leather he had carried up with him.  Kneeling on the floor, he made sure all the objects were still there.  Two hollow bones.  A piece of red crumbling stone.  A small old dried gourd, that held a precious amount of spring water.  A small stone, hollowed in the middle from generations of use.  A smaller oblong stone.
Mato had only seen this done once before, when his father's father had done this.  The green time his father had done it, he had been away on a hunt.  He had come back, feeling proud that he and the other warriors had found and killed an adult mammoth, only to find his father had died.  A rogue bear had come out of the woods.  Even though his father was a great hunter and great leader, that day he had been too slow.  Some had said his father waited for the beast to get him.  Mato had felt great grief that his father couldn't put his hand on the Wall.  Then, he saw the faded red stains on his fathers working hand.  This red wasn't blood.  Somehow, his father had known.
And now, Mato knew.  He felt tired in his bones.  He felt the cold winter coming.  He did not care if he saw the next green time, or not.  Since he had lost his mate and sons, little interested him as it had before.  And so, he readied himself to put up his hand.
He ground the red stone, adding water a drop at a time, until it was right. He carefully poured the mixture into one of the hollow bones.  Carefully, he stood up, and put his working hand amongst the Wall of the Old Ones.  He then stopped.
"Vaki" he called.
Vaki appeared at the opening of the cave, his eyes big.
"Come" Mato spoke firmly, gesturing with  his head.
Vaki came in slowly, in awe of what he was about to witness.  An arm's length away from Mato,  he stopped.  Mato positioned his working hand on the wall until it felt right.  Using his quiet hand, he put the hollow bone stuffed with the red stone mixture into his mouth.  He breathed in deeply through his nose, then blew the red onto his hand.  His thumb and first two fingers were covered in red.
"More." he said to Vaki.  Vaki looked at the objects and with a little prompting from Mato, filled the second hollow bone with the remaining mixture.  Mato blew again.  This time it all his fingers were covered.  Very slowly, Mato pulled away his hand.
Both Mato and Vaki gasped quietly.  Seeing a fresh hand on the Wall of the Old Ones was a powerful experience.
After a little, Mato turned to Vaki and smiled.  He put out his hand and Vaki took it.  Gently, he put Vaki's hand into his freshly made one, being ever so careful not to touch the fresh red spray.  He then had Vaki touch the other hands of the Wall of the Old Ones.
Quietly, they picked up the objects and wrapped them in the leather.  Mato stood straighter than he had in a long time.  He gave the leather roll to Vaki to carry. Vako's eyes widened when he saw the two emerge from the cave.  He gave a quiet nod to Mato, who pretended he didn't see it. He went to smile at Vaki, but Vaki had his head turned, looking at the cave, seeing the footprints they'd left.
As they walked down the mountain to the fires, Mato absently scratched an itch on his chest with  his freshly stained red hand.
Vaki saw, and was sad to see there would be blood on Mato sometime soon.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Early Burial
Possible rendition of Homo Heidelbergensis

Northern Spain, =/-300,000 years ago

Ra was in front.  Ru was behind him.  They had seen the young mammoth that had gotten lost from the other mammoths.  This mammoth would be great food for the rest.  The cold time was coming too, and fur was needed to keep warm when the fires went low.
Ra and Ru had gone out together for many cold and warm times.  Most times they would get good food for the women and babies.  Today would be another good day.
The young mammoth trumpeted mournfully, lost and looking for its family.  Ra heard the sadness of it, but food was more important.  Soon, the mammoth would be  near the big rocks, and Ra and Ru could run down and throw their spears.  The rocks were not a full trap, as the water cliffs a day away were, but a confused animal could stay there enough time to be killed.
Ra waited.  He could hear Ru creeping quietly behind him.  Ra put out a hand, and Ru would know that they would not run now, but soon.
The young mammoth walked into the large rocks, Ra waved Ru to follow, and began to run.  As he ran he heard a thud and shortened scream behind him but did not pay attention.  The young mammoth was near and it was time to throw spears.  Ra threw his spear with a ferocious cry toward the mammoth.  It hit the mammoths flank, stayed for a moment, then fell off.  Ra yelled in frustration, and waited for Ru to throw.  But no other spear came.  The young mammoth bellowed in surprise and fury.  Stumbling around the rocks, it found a way out.  The wound on ints flank bled, but would not kill it.  In the far distance, Ra could hear the other mammoths trumpeting in reply.  Ra picked up his spear, and turned to find Ru.
Ru was lying face down, his head at an odd angle on a small rock.  His spear was on the ground in front of him.  Ra grunted, "Rrruu."
No response.  Ra kicked him in the ribs.  Ru didn't move.  Ra looked more closely.  Ru was not moving and his breath was gone.  Ra grunted and sat down next to Ru in confusion.  Ru would not help him on this hunt.
Ra stood up after the sun had moved.  He turned to walk back to their home of the cold time, a cave in the small mountain.  He walked a few steps, then turned and looked again at Ru.  He turned and walked again.  A bird's harsh cry made him turn and look back at Ru.  The bird was large, and was sitting on Ru, pecking at his head.  Not knowing why, Ra charged at the bird and waved him off.  He sat awhile more.  Ru would not move again, but Ra felt alone without him. With a grunt, not unlike the mournful cry of the lost mammoth, he stood up then bent and grabbed Ru's arms.  He dragged Ru back to the home of the cold time.
 Ra and Ru had always come here for the cold time.  Ra knew what to do when he returned.
Their was silence from everyone when they saw Ru being dragged by Ra.  Ra dragged him all the way through the cave to the back.  With another anguished grunt, he threw his brother down into the pit that went into the black.  No birds would peck at him here.