Oldest Wooden Structure. University of Liverpool.

Archaeologists Find the Oldest Wooden Structure on Earth

An interesting discovery suggests that, around half a million years ago, human ancestors constructed sophisticated wooden structures, defying our earlier beliefs about the capabilities of our prehistoric ancestors.


Revelations from Kalambo Falls, Zambia, suggest that half a million years ago, humans constructed sophisticated wooden structures, defying our earlier beliefs about the capabilities of our prehistoric ancestors.

New research from the University of Liverpool and Aberystwyth University reveals a surprising discovery: wooden structures were crafted by humans long before the emergence of our species, Homo sapiens.

Well-preserved wooden remnants, unearthed from the archaeological site of Kalambo Falls in Zambia, have been dated back to approximately 476,000 years. These artifacts challenge the notion that the primary use of wood during the era was for fire, digging tools, and weapons.

Artifacts and Their Tale

Upon detailed examination, the stone tool marks on the wood indicate that these early humans intentionally shaped and conjoined large logs. This possibly laid the foundation of a platform or even a dwelling.

Previously, the prevalent belief held that Stone Age humans were primarily wanderers. However, the perennial water source at Kalambo Falls and the surrounding forests, rich in food, suggest these early humans might have settled and erected structures.


Leading the “Deep Roots of Humanity” research project, Professor Larry Barham of the University of Liverpool, shared, “These ancient humans used intelligence, imagination, and skills, transforming their surroundings to enhance daily life. This discovery pushes us to view them in a light more similar to ours than previously assumed.”

Dating the Finds

Aberystwyth University’s team employed advanced luminescence dating techniques to determine the age of the artifacts. These techniques ascertain the last time surrounding minerals were exposed to sunlight.

Professor Geoff Duller from Aberystwyth University elaborates, “Using these novel dating methods, we’re now able to go much deeper into history, connecting the dots of human evolution. Previous excavations at Kalambo Falls in the 1960s had hinted at the site’s significance, but its true importance remained clouded until our recent revelations.”

Resting on the border of Zambia and Tanzania, Kalambo Falls has always been of archaeological significance. This research further cements its place as a candidate for a United Nations World Heritage Site.

The “Deep Roots of Humanity” project, backed by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council, aims to unravel the intricacies of human technological evolution in the Stone Age, partnering with numerous Zambian institutions.


Professor Barham concludes, “With Kalambo Falls’ rich history, we’re anticipating many more breakthroughs from its submerged tales.”

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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