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Ancient toolmakers discovered fire treatment
古代工匠發現火鑄法
By 美聯社
編譯:廖文韻

2009-08-17 00:00:00

Many thousands of years ago, early humans somehow figured out they could make better stone tools by treating the rocks with fire. Evidence of that, dating 72,000 years ago, has been found on the southeastern tip of Africa, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.
數千年前的人類,透過某種方式發現,他們可以藉由將岩石燒熱,打造出更好的石器。週五出版的《科學期刊》中,研究人員表示,相關的證據已在非洲東南端被發現,並可將歷史追溯至7萬2千年前。

 
 

The find pushes back the first evidence of such technology by at least 45,000 years, according to Curtis Marean, a paleoanthropologist at the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, a co-author of the report.
柯提斯莫林是亞利桑那州立大學的古人類學專家,也是該研究的作者之一,他說這項新發現,使火鑄技術首度出現的時間,至少可往前推4萬5千年。

 
 

"Heat treatment technology begins with a genius moment -- someone discovers that heating stone makes it easier to flake," Marean said in a statement. The new discovery is then passed on and improved.
莫林在聲明中提到:「火鑄技術的開始可謂天賦異秉:某人發現岩石加熱後變得較容易成片剝開。」這項新的發現後來被流傳下來並加以改良。

 
 

The researchers found items made from a stone called silcrete, which usually was poor for tool making. But heating it causes it to change color and alter its grain structure, making it more usable.
研究人員找到利用矽質殼這種石材所製成的器物,矽質殼通常不適合用來製造工具,但是如果經過加熱,矽質殼不但會變色,還會改變紋理構造,因此變得比較耐用。

 
 

To test their idea, the researchers heated some silcrete overnight. In the morning, they found they could flake it into shiny tools similar to the ones they found at the archaeological site in Pinnacle Point in South Africa.
為了測試這項理論,研究人員將矽質殼加熱一整個晚上。到了早上,他們發現可以將矽質殼成片剝開,變成閃閃發光的工具,就類似他們在位於南非Pinnacle Point的考古遺址中所找到的器物。

 
 

"Here are the beginnings of fire and engineering," said lead author Kyle Brown, a doctoral candidate at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
研究的主要作者凱爾布朗,目前是南非開普敦大學的準博士生,他說:「這是火與工程結合的開端。」

 
 
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