Archaeologists have unearthed the oldest wooden structure ever discovered along the banks of the Kalambo River in Zambia near Africa’s second-highest waterfall.
According to a study describing the find in the journal, Nature, it dates back at least 476,000 years, well before the evolution of Homo Sapiens.
The wood bears cut-marks showing that stone tools were used to join two large logs to make the structure, which is believed to be a platform, walkway or raised dwelling to keep our relatives above the water.
A collection of wooden tools, including a wedge and a digging stick, were also discovered at the site.
The ancestors of humans were already known to use wood at this time, but for limited purposes such as starting a fire or hunting.
Discoveries involving such ancient wood are rare, because it tends to rot leaving behind little trace for the historical record.
But the high level of water at Kalambo Falls is believed to have preserved the structure over the centuries.