Neanderthals used resin to glue stone tools to the handles

An interesting discovery was made by a group of researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, in collaboration with other international institutions including the University of Pisa, who examined some findings from two Italian caves.

Researchers have discovered one of the first known examples, in terms of findings in Europe, of using glue for the construction of more profitable stone tools. It is technological progress not to be underestimated.

The researchers found that Neanderthals living in Europe in the period between 55,000 and 40,000 years ago used to collect pine resin which they then used to glue stone tools with wooden or bone handles. The findings, represented by more than a thousand stone tools, were made in the Grotta del Fossellone and in the Grotta di Sant’Agostino, near the coast of Lazio in Italy.

In these caves many Neanderthals lived in the middle Paleolithic period, which is several thousand years before Homo sapiens placed foot on the European continent. During the research, Paola Villa found traces of what looked like an adhesive used to hold the instrument attached to its handle.

The analysis, carried out by Ilaria Degano of the University of Pisa, confirmed that it was local pine resin mixed with beeswax. This latest study shows how intelligent Neanderthals were, in the collective imagination, perhaps inappropriately, usually seen as cruder and less incapable than Homo sapiens.