By Neil MacGregor
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Additional resources for A History Of The World In 100 Objects - BBC Transcript
But these chopping tools are marvellous and quick at getting the meat off the bone and then, with one sharp blow, I could break the bone and we'd be able to get to the marrow. But you can of course use a tool like this also to strip bark off trees or roots, so that you could eat them as well. This is, in fact, a very very versatile kitchen implement. The early humans who used chopping tools like this were probably not hunters themselves, but they were brilliant opportunists - they waited until lions, leopards or other beasts had killed their prey and then they moved in with their chopping tools, secured the meat and the marrow, and hit the protein jackpot.
And what I do is, I select a hard stone hammer, in this case a quartzite pebble about the size of a cricket ball, and I elect to hit it in one place - and this is where I start to knap. Now once I've taken one flake off, what I do then is turn the flint over and I take a flake off the other side, and then I turn it back again, and pretty much, by the time I've got all the way round, you can actually see that what I've done is make a very crude form of the final implement. ' Simply watching a practised knapper at work shows just how many skills the maker of our handaxe must have possessed.
I don't think that primitive human beings just had a ready-made word in their heads that sounded like 'God', and they immediately knew what it was. They were discovering how to be human in a world that was much more complicated because of their intelligence, and because of the new environmental challenges they were working with, and slowly the world - how should I say it? - almost reshapes itself. ' It seems that much of the art made around the world at the time of the Ice Age did have a religious dimension, although we can only guess at any ritual use.