Sunday, June 30, 2019

Tents, and Music Technology in Genesis 4: part 2

Tents, and Music Technology part 2

Before I present what I wrote in 2005 I want to ask a question for readers to think about. Most Christians, conservative and liberal, believe in some sort of Adam. Some believe he was a member of a tribe; some believe he was Neolithic farmer picked out for special recognition: some think he is the genetic ancestor of humans but not the first human. The fact is they all get the idea that there was an Adam from Scripture. Yet a lot of people ignore everything about Adam except his existence. If we all believe some type of Adam existed, why do we ignore the data about his descendants?

I have always found this very odd. I am my description–70, 3 boys, geophysicist, live in a medium size town (maybe small by today’s standards), interested in science and theology. If someone decides to describe me as 45, 2 girls, shopkeeper living in a town of 2.5 million and an avid sports fan, they wouldn’t be describing me. Thus, to ascribe to Adam and his family traits not described in Scripture is to make Adam someone else. As we will see in this post, things claimed to be invented by Adam’s descendants were invented long before Neolithic Adam lived. Neolithic Adam is a choice of interpretation which makes Scripture false, because it says things actually invented thousands or hundreds of thousands of years ago, were invented in the Neolithic. This makes a mockery of both science and the Bible. Since interpretations are a conscious choice, this implies that it is a conscious choice to force the Bible into a position where it is false. Why do we do this to ourselves?

We worship the God of a religion based upon a book we proclaim is scientifically and historically false. That is so illogical that it should gobsmack us all.

From Pathway Paper #5:

20“And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle. Gen. 4:20 (ASV)

Let us first look to when tents appear in the archaeological record. I can assure every reader, that tents were not a Neolithic invention. People have been living in tents for 400,000 years or more! How could a descendant of a Neolithic Adam be the ‘father of such as dwell in tents and have property’ when such things were in existence long before that?

Mankind has regularly set up tents for at least the past 400,000 years. Here is a sampling from among many more that I could draw upon. All examples are pre-Neolithic so when reading each case, think about how it falsifies the claim by many that a Neolithic Adam invented tents.

From Kostenki I (19,000 years ago)
At Kostenki II, dated to 19,900 years ago, the circular footings of a structure survive.131

From Arcy-sur-Cure (40,000 years ago)
"Thus, at Arcy-sur-Cure, protected by the overhang of the Cave of the Reindeer, the Chatelperronians built and rebuilt circular huts three meters in diameter, with a floor of flat stones, over the course of at least 5,000 years. Part of the framework of these huts might have consisted of mammoth tusks set in holes, and the roof might have been made of skins or bark, flat stones or lumps of soil. These dwellings are different from those of prehistoric Russia and the Ukraine–true pit houses whose construction required skeletal parts of almost 150 mammoths."132

Figure 8 Postholes around Neanderthal hut Reindeer Cave,
Arcy-sur-Cure. Mammoth bones M, river pebbles (striped)

Ian Tattersall relates,

"Hearths are a regular feature of Mousterian sites, and occasionally postholes (and at one site a natural cast of a tent peg) have provided evidence that from time to time Neanderthals rendered their camping sites more comfortable by the rigging up of shelters. Indeed, there is a very recent report of a Neanderthal structure quite deep within a cave, indirectly suggesting that some form of artificial lighting was available."133

The above reference is to Bruniquel, France, where 47,000 years ago, Neanderthals went several hundred meters into a cave. They built a rectangular structure and burned a bear. Mark Berkowitz said,
"A discovery by Francois Rouzaud of the French archaeological service suggests
Neandertals were more sophisticated in their use of fire than previously believed. A burnt bear bone found deep in a cave in southern France has been dated to at least 47,600 years ago, before modern humans reached western Europe. It proves Neandertals were able to use fire for illumination. Earlier evidence showed only that they used fire in simple hearths. The bone came from a 13- by 16-foot structure made of stalactite and stalagmite fragments. Built by Neandertals, its purpose is unknown

[GRM Note: radiometric dating of Bruniquel in 2016 says it is 176,000 years old, not 47,600. see]

Molodova 40-60 kyr135
“ Large horizontal excavations at Molodova I have revealed the remnants of several large tent rings up to 8 meters in diameter comprised mainly of mammoth bones. Inside these rings are dense scatters of lithics, faunal remains and ash scatters/hearths. Recreating the depositional history and related taphonomic processes of this site is one key to understanding long term use of the site as well as area specific activities.”136

From Lunel-Viel, (200,000 years ago)
"The earliest indications come from one of the 12 Mindel/Riss interglacial occupation levels at Lunel-Viel. There, a line of six groups of large stones occurs about 10 m inside the present cave entrance. Two to four large stones constitute each group, and the line creates a division between the occupied area at the mouth of the cave and the less used interior part of the cave. These groups of stone most plausibly represent rocks used to stabilize poles wedged between the cave floor and ceiling. In fact, one such small rock circle at Lunel-Viel surrounded a small post hole 15 cm deep and about 2.5 cm in diameter confirming the construction nature of these rock features. The line of six rock groups may represent a form of wall that blocked the living area from cold damp air currents coming from the cave interior when Preneandertals sought refuge in the cave during inclement weather. Bonifay also uncovered what appears to be portions of paved areas sometimes associated with hearths or work areas on several levels. At Lunel-Viel a true dry stone wall almost 3 m long was also excavated. This separated one part of the cave which did not appear to have been habitable due to its high humidity and low roof from the clearly inhabited zone. There were also pits dug along the underground lakeshore, constructed hearths, bone dumps on the periphery of habitation zone and other indications of a strongly specialized use of domestic space inside the cave."137.

The Neanderthals were making stone pavements at that time (200,000 years ago).

"The possibility of lower Paleolithic stone pavements, presumably constructed to protect cave inhabitants from ground moisture and mud during times of inclement weather, is a topic on which opinions vary, as they also do concerning specific sites. The densest, best defined cobble and artefact accumulations are certainly unusual and enigmatic, requiring some explanation. However, while the excavators are often convinced of their intentional human origin, others are more cautious and posit possible, gradually built-up, unintentional origins for at least some of these deposits. The most widely accepted candidate for a clearly defined pavement has been excavated in the Mindel/Riss deposits of Grotte d’Aldene. This continuous 6 m2 pavement was primarily composed of adjoining rounded limestone cobbles that had been split and flaked on the sides that were set into the ground with their rounded surfaces facing up. Waste flakes, stalagmitic slabs with smooth surfaces up and flint tools also formed part of this pavement. The continuous nature of the pavement, the occurrence of flaking on the underside of the cobbles and their limestone material make it seem unlikely that these are randomly abandoned tools meant to be used for practical tasks. As Barrall & Simone argue, these factors, as well as a good size sorting together with the tight, almost conjoining fit between the constituents, and the presence of incontestable flakes, prove that this is certainly an intentional habitation structure.’ Lumley & Bottet excavated other stone concentrations in several Riss II and III deposits of stratum 30(J) at Baume Bonne. The best example at this site, with over 185 cobbles per square meter, had well defined edges forming an oval 5 m long by 2.5 m wide containing up to 70 retouched flint tools per square meter, leaving little doubt as to its association with human activity."138

And from Bilzingsleben, a 425,000 year old German Homo erectus site:

At Bilzingsleben each hut opened to the south had a hearth in front of the door"

Why facing south? To keep the cold north winds out of the hut.

[GRM note:I am throwing this in because it shows H. erectus had religiion!
There is an even earlier altar, which is not controversial, found at Bilzingsleben, Germany. An entire Homo erectus village was excavated at this site which dates to 425,000 years old. The excavators, Dietrich and Ursula Mania have found a 27-foot-diameter paved area that they say was used for "special cultural activities"49. Gore writes:

"But Mania’s most intriguing find lies under a protective shed. As he opens the door sunlight illuminates a cluster of smooth stones and pieces of bone that he believes were arranged by humans to pave a 27-foot-wide circle. "‘They intentionally paved this area for cultural activities,’ says Mania. 'We found here a large anvil of quartzite set between the horns of a huge bison, near it were fractured human skulls.’"50]

I would contend that the symbolism here, if found in a modern village, would be enough to cause one to turn and flee for his life. Such an arrangement of objects would immediately be interpreted as evidence of religion, and a hostile religion at that. Bilzingsleben dates to around 425,000 years, not the mere 28,000 years that Rana and Ross prefers for the oldest evidence of religion or the 6,500 years for evidence of sacrifice that Fisher allows. If Rana and Ross wish to claim that religion doesn’t go back further than 28,000 years, they should explain why the above five examples don’t qualify as examples of religion? It is clear that evidence of religion in the anthropological record prior to 28,000 years is not rare. Rana and Ross can’t prove their case by ignoring these sites and this data. END of Insertion]

The oldest claim to a built windbreak was made by Mary Leakey at the site called DK which dates to 1.8 million years. It is controversial, but the remains there do look like the remains of a modern hut left by nomads today. For a full account see Johanson and Shreeve.140

OK, so a descendant of a Neolithic Adam couldn’t possibly have invented tents. But could they be the first ones in tents with cattle? Well, that depends upon what the verse means. The translation above may not be the best. “Tents” is ok, but ‘cattle’ might not be. The word, translated as ‘cattle’ is tso’n and it can be translated as cattle, flock, herd, possession, purchase, substance. Numbers 31:9 illustrates the issue. It says,

And the people of Israel took captive the women of Midian and their little ones; and they took as booty all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods.” Num 31:9 ASV.

Now, the word translated ‘cattle’ in this verse is not miqneh which was used in Genesis 4:20, be-hay-mah, which means beast. The word translated ‘flocks’ is miqneh, which was translated cattle in the previous verse. And the word ‘goods’ is chayil and can be translated as ‘strength’, ‘might’, ‘efficiency’, ‘wealth’, or ‘army’.
Gen 26:14 translates miqneh as possessions. It says:

For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds.

The word translated ‘flocks’ is our old sheep and goat word, tso’n. This word is translated this way 54 times.

What all this shows is that the meaning of these words is somewhat obscure. If sheep/goats can be also a flock, which implies birds, but can also be sheep or goats or cattle. But miqneh is translated 60 times as ‘cattle’, three times as ‘flocks’, five times as ‘possession’ or ‘possessions’, two times as substance (also meaning possessions) and once as ‘herds’ and once as ‘purchase’. With this range of possible meanings, it is entirely possible that the verse should read:

And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have possessions

Which clearly doesn’t require a Neolithic/farming setting. The ancient tentmakers among the archaic humans also had possessions. One is not required to think in terms of herds or flocks, even if the original writer thought that was what was God was saying to him.

Harps and pipes141

21And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe.” Gen. 4:21 (ASV)

Using this verse, arguing for a Neolithic Adam, Dick Fischer asks,

Could sophisticated musical instruments (Gen. 4:21) predate simple bone flutes?”142

Fischer misses an important point here, a simple bone flute is more complex than what the Bible is describing. The word translated ‘pipe’ means “perhaps a flute, reed-pipe, or panpipes. Pan pipes are merely tubes of proper length taped or tied together. It is much less complex than the Neanderthal flute which was found at Dvije Babe in Slovenia. But that gets ahead of ourselves.

The plain fact is that no descendant of a Neolithic Adam could have invented the flute or pipe because it was invented tens of thousands of years earlier.

But music is found much earlier than that, although the number of instruments become much fewer. The reason for this is the durability of wood and skin artefacts. The only objects which appear from much earlier than this are those made of very durable material, such as bone, although bone is not as durable as many would surmise. Because of the progressive destruction of perishable musical instruments, the bone flute and bone whistles become the major survivors from earlier periods.

Five thousand years ago in the Orkney Islands (north of Scotland), bone flutes were made. This was from a time equivalent to the Neolithic Adam, yet the Orcadians had flutes. Here is a picture I took of it.

Figure 9 Bone flute from Orkney Islands, Scotland

I would note that the holes are not even and not even circular. Yet this is in a museum as an example of a flute made by modern humans. Remember this picture when we show the Neanderthal flute below.

Other early flutes made by modern men prior to the proposed Neollithic Adam include those from the Magdalenian period dating 13-15,000 years ago, a beautiful eagle bone flute was found. Marshack describes it,

"In cabinet number one at the Musee des Antiquites Nationales in 1965, there lay a tiny gray, broken bit of hollow eagle bone. It was some 4 1/2 inches long (11 cm), had been cut by a flint knife at one end, and was broken at thee other. It came from a level approximately 13,000 to 15,000 years old, was dated as late middle Magdalenian and came from the same site of Le Placard that gave us the two earlier Magdalenian batons. Worked or decorated bird bones are not uncommon in the Upper Paleolithic. Some have blow holes cut into them, indicating their use as whistles or flutes, and they can be blown to give a high, piping, flute sound."143

This beautiful flute is engraved on the outside by two linear sequences of parallel lines, and six sets of nested chevrons. The flute, as a flute, is very simple and could only make one sound. It had no finger holes to alter the pitch. Thus, technically this was a whistle.

The oldest picture of a flute may be from an 18,000 year old French site. Coles and Higgs observe,

At Les Trois Freres (Ariege), a semi-human figure seems to be playing either a musical bow (although musically this is not in the correct position) or a flute. The association of the semi-humans at this site, with grouped animals, seems to indicate some ceremonial activity, whether it be sympathetic magic or not and music by this time had been in existence for some thousands of years."144

Another type of whistle used in ancient times was a reindeer phalange which was drilled through. When blown, it whistles. Megaw observed of these,

"The earliest evidence we have for blown instruments are those made from reindeer phalanges pierced on one surface which when blown across between the tips of the articular condyles emit a shrill whistle. Often regarded – largely on the evidence of modern parallels – as decoy whistles, these objects, whose method of playing is exactly that of the modern cross-flute, have been found in Upper Palaeolithic occupation sites in France, at for example La Madeleine and Solutre, and in Central Europe at Dolni Vestonice and the cave of Pekarna. They have also occurred on comparable sites in North America."145

Megaw’s description of the phalanges is accurate, but phalanges are not the earliest evidence of blown instruments, but that comes later. The claim for the “earliest” is one that is found quite often, and is usually wrong. I cited Megaw in order to convey what a phalange whistle was. Megaw continues (I will insert the approximate age of the various sites, that I could find, in Megaw’s text),

"To return to our catalogue: at the Hungarian cave site of Istallosko,[Istallosko-This dates at 31,000 B.P. but this particular flute may have been from younger levels. (see147–GRM] in an occupation level dated to Aurignacian II, the excavators found not only two pierced reindeer phalanges but also the femur of a cave bear having three holes, one in the centre of the posterior surface and two on the anterior. The larger of these near the proximal epiphysis measures some 11mm. across, close to the size of the lip hole of a modern cross-blown flute, and as the position of the epiphysis does not allow the lips to cover the open end it must be presumed that here was an early ancestor of the notch flutes of present-day primitive groups. Be that as it may, Istallosko does not stand alone, for several other Central European cave sites of an Aurignacian II date have produced pierced long bones. Lokve in what used to be Fiume had a curved bone – once more that of a cave bear – with three ‘finger holes’ pierced on one side. The bird’s ulna from Drachen, Mixnitz, has three large holes and several smaller – a more doubtful candidate. … On the other hand in a bone from Salzhofen in Austria we have a closer analogy to Istallosko with two holes on one side and three on the other. Returning to France, in the Aurignacian levels of the cave of Isturitz [~27,000 B.P. based on it being a Perigordian site See ref. 143, p.96-97–GRM], Basses-Pyrenees, was found part of the cubitus of a large bird, which the excavators think may have been a vulture. The broken end preserves part of a sub-rectangular hole, while below it are two other complete holes. In the later series of excavations of the Aurignacian III levels at the same site some seven other pierced bird bones were found, one having indications of four holes of which three must have been finger holes. The simple notch decoration which ornament it was found on other examples as well. Coming full circle the nearest parallel to Istallosko is to be found in a reindeer radius from Badegoule dated by its association with Solutrean leaf-shaped blades[Solutrean was approx. 20,000 years B.P.–GRM]. At the damaged distal end is one large hole repeated by a smaller on the opposite side which also has a second hole at the proximal end."146

Of the Isturitz find, the original report, written in French, describes it thusly,

"Enfin, j’ai decouvert en 1921, une piece qui est sans doute unique, un gros os d’Oiseau, malheureusement brise a une de ses extremites, mais qui porte encore sur une seule rangee trois larges trous, comme dans une sorte de flute (pl. VII). C’est, sans doute, le plus ancien instrument de musique connu."148


At last, I uncovered in 1921 a piece which is without doubt, unique, a big bird bone, unfortunately broken at the ends, but because still carried three holes, like that of some sort of flute. It is without doubt the most ancient musical instrument found.” [trans. by David Morton]

Gravettian sites in eastern Europe, also have yielded several flutes. Coles and Higgs report,

"Also in Moravia are the important Gravettian sites of Predmost, Pavlov and Brno. At Pavlov a large number of hut plans have been identified, oval, round and five-sided in shape, with some postholes and hearths. The associated industry included decorated bone and ivory objects including animals and human figures, and a number of phalange whistles; the occupation has been radiocarbon dated to c. 25,000 B.P."149

At Dolni Vestonice, Czechoslovakia, flutes are found. This site is approximately 27,000 years old. Coles and Higgs relate,

"Decorative objects include perforated shells and other pendants, and tubular beads; bone tubes, one with a plug of resin, probably were panpipes."150
The oldest known flute, made by anatomically modern humans today, comes from Abri Blanchard from 30,000 years ago

I have been able to find many more examples of musical instruments which were made by Neanderthal. The most recent find was from Divje Babe. It is a flute, which is made in the same fashion as the Upper Paleolithic flutes made by modern men noted above. Thus the tradition of flute making continues unaltered across the Neanderthal/Modern man transition. David Keys writes,

"Deep inside a cave in Slovenia, in the north of former Yugoslavia, archaeologists have unearthed the world’s oldest true musical instrument - a flute which appears to have been made by Neanderthals around 45,000 years ago."152

Here is a drawing of the Neanderthal flute,

Some people don’t think it is a flute. They say it is the regurgitated remains of a hyena dinner. However, this is a better made flute than the one in the Orkneys Museum in Kirkwall, Orkney which is made by modern humans. The holes are rounder and more regularly spaced.

But like lots of claims for being the oldest, it isn’t. Neanderthals made phalange whistles (just like anatomically modern man. One was found at La Quina, which dates to 64,000 years ago.153 This is a musical instrument from prior to the time Hugh Ross used to say any should exist. Dr. Ross has repeatedly stated that it is Biblically unacceptable for there to be any evidence of spirituality prior to 60,000 years (although he has recently changed to a 100,000 year time zone. As long as Christians make these types of claims, we will set the Bible up to be disproven all too easily. He writes:

"In the case of the cave drawings and pottery fragments, the degree of abstractness suggests the expression of something more than just intelligence. Certainly no animals species other than human beings has ever exhibited the capacity for such sophisticated expression. However, the dates for these finds are well within the biblically acceptable range for the appearance of Adam and Eve – somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 years ago according to Bible scholars who have carefully analyzed the genealogies. Since the oldest art and fabrics date between 25,000 and 30,000 years ago, no contradiction exists between anthropology and Scripture on this issue."154

But this is not the end of the Neanderthal musical instruments. They extend much further into the past. [GRM Note: the oldest art in the world is from Spain dated to 64,000 years ago predating modern humans by 20,000 years. ]

The oldest flute I have been able to find is a from Haua Fteah in Libya. It is had at least two perforations and thus was much more complex than the first flute I mentioned above, the Le Placard Eagle bone flute. McBurney notes,

"To these may be added a remarkable bone object most plausibly explained as a fragment of a vertical ‘flute’ or multiple pitch whistle, from spit 1955/64. In this position although directly associated only with a few non-diagnostic chips, splinters and splinters of bone it is none the less attributable to the Pre-Aurignacian owing to the clear indications provided by the overlying spits 1955/61-58, to be discussed in the next chapter. These last show every affinity with the material culture as described and certainly indicate the continued existence of the tradition in the area. "155

Stringed instruments, which is what the harp refers to, do not preserve well in the archaeological record. They are usually made of perishable material like wood. The only thing that can be said about their existence in prehistory is that mankind has been making string and cord for a long time (using them for strings of beads) and surely somewhere along the way someone would have noticed that a taut string when plucked, makes sound. The Neanderthals made a necklace, and thus string. So, the likelihood of some descendant of a Neolithic Adam being the first to discover that strings can make music is very, very low.

But again, all the items discussed here were pre-Neolithic. Again, the common view, even if they believe the account of Adam and Eve’s descendants is literal, it is a johnny-come-lately story. Everything was invented before by Adam and Eve’s tribal parents not their descendants. (assuming one believes A and E were born of a pre-existing human tribe). Unfortunately, those who believe this tribal theory are generally are quite willing to dismiss Scripture as having no real historical or scientific content–Thus it doesn’t bother them. Adam and Eve must be much older than is commonly believed.

49. Mania D., and U. Mania and E. Vlcek, 1994. "Latest Finds of Skull Remains of Homo erectus from Bilzingsleben (Thuringia)", Naturwissenschaften, 81(1994), p. 123-127, p. 124; see also Dietrich Mania and Ursula Mania, "Deliberate Engravings on Bone Artefacts of Homo Erectus," Rock Art Research 5(1988):2:91-107, p. 92.
50. Rick Gore, “The First Europeans,” National Geographic, July, 1997, p. 96-113, p. 110

131. Chris Stringer and Clive Gamble, In Search of the Neanderthals, (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1993), p.204
132. Andre Leroi Gourhan, The Hunters of Prehistory, transl. Claire Jacobson, (New York: Atheneum, 1989), p. 131
133. Ian Tattersall, Becoming Human, (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1998), p. 158
134. Mark Berkowitz, “Neandertal News,” Archaeology, Sept./Oct. 1996, p. 22
135. Chris Stringer and Clive Gamble, In Search of the Neanderthals, (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1993), p.204
136. A. Nowell, F. d’Errico, A. Sytnyk , “The Art of Taphonomy and the Taphonomy of Art: An analysis of Molodova I, Level IV: Putative Symbolic Evidence ,” Abstracts for the 2003 Meetings
accessed 6-22-03
137.Brian Hayden "The Cultural Capacities of Neandertals ", Journal of Human Evolution 1993, 24:113-146, p. 132n
138. Brian Hayden,“The Cultural Capacities of Neandertals”, Journal of Human Evolution 1993, 24:113-146, p.132-133
139. D. Mania and U. Mania, “Latest Finds of Skull Remains of Homo erectus from Bilzingsleben (Thuringia)” Naturwissenschaften, 81(1994):123-127, p. 127
140. Donald Johanson and James Shreeve, Lucy’s Child, (New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1989), p. 152-153
141. parts of this are taken from
142. Dick Fischer, The Origins Solution, (Lima, Ohio: Fairway Press, 1996), p. 118
143. Alexander Marshack, The Roots of Civilization, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972), p. 147.
144. J.M. Coles and E. S. Higgs, The Archaeology of Early Man, (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), p. 226-227
145. J.V.S. Megaw, “Penny Whistles and Prehistory,” Antiquity XXXIV, 1960, pp 6-13, p. 6-7
146. Ibid., p. 7-8
147. J.M. Coles and E. S. Higgs, The Archaeology of Early Man, (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), p. 290
148. E. Passemard, 1944, “La Caverne d’Isturitz en Pays Basque,” Prehisoire 9:1-84, p. 24.
149. J.M. Coles and E. S. Higgs, The Archaeology of Early Man, (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), p. 298
150. Ibid.
151. Goran Burenhult, editor,American Museum of Natural History The First Humans, (San Francisco: Harper,1993), p. 103 and Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin, Origins Reconsidered, (New York: Doubleday, 1992), p. 322
152. David Keys, Archaeology Correspondent, “Independent” Sunday 2/25/96, p. 15 Manchester England.
153. Paul Mellars, The Neanderthal Legacy, (Princeton: University Press, 1996), p. 404
154. Hugh Ross, “Art and Fabric Shed New Light on Human History,” Facts & Faith, 9:3 (1995)p. 2
155. C.B.M. McBurney, Haua Fteah (Cyrenaica),(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1967), p. 90

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