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BBC 100件藏品中的世界史003:Olduvai Handaxe奥杜威手斧mp3

Olduvai handaxe.jpg

BBC 100件藏品中的世界史

003 : EPISODE 3 - Olduvai handaxe
大英博物馆百件物品之3:奥杜威手斧

Olduvai handaxe (made 1.2 - 1.4 million years ago) found in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, East Africa
奥杜威手斧,距今约一百二十至一百四十万年前,出土于东非坦桑尼亚奥杜威峡谷

What do you take with you when you travel? Most of us would embark on a long list that begins with a toothbrush and ends with excess baggage. But for most of human history, there was only one thing that you really needed in order to travel - a stone handaxe.
当你旅行时随身携带的物品是什么?我们中大多数人会开出一张长长的清单,以牙刷开头,直到用超重的行李包结尾。但是在人类历史上的多数阶段,你旅行中真正需要的可能仅仅是一把石制手斧。

'They are just beautiful tools ...'
“它们真是美得纯粹的工具呵……”

'Pretty sharp, around the edges, isn't it?'
“周边边缘真是锋芒锐利,是吧?”

'I think whoever made this, did it very beautifully and carefully.'
“我觉得制造这工具的人,手艺堪称鬼斧天工啊!”

'And once they'd been invented, if you want to use that word, they just never changed the design ... and I think that is the ultimate compliment to the design of a superb tool.'
“一旦它们被发明出来,其名字确认下来,设计再也不曾被修改过。我觉得这种‘从来被模仿,不曾被超过’真是对一种超极工具的终极评价!”

It looks pretty straightforward, but in fact a handaxe is extremely tricky to make and, for over a million years, it was literally the cutting edge of technology. It accompanied our ancestors through half of their history, and was the main reason they spread first across Africa and then across the world.
它看起来相对简单,但其实制造一把手斧的工夫却是非常棘手,而且在超过近百万年时光里,这一直领先的前沿工艺。它伴随着我们老祖宗渡过近一半的人类历史,同时也是他们得以走出非洲,遍布全球的原因。

For a million years the sound of making handaxes provided the percussion of everyday life. Anyone choosing a hundred objects to tell a history of the world would have to include a handaxe. All of this week I'm looking at objects from the very earliest moments of human history.
在将近百万年的时光里,制造手斧的声音宛如人们日常生活里打击乐器的乐声。任何人企图选择百件物品来讲叙一段世界历史的,这石斧肯定是必选之物。本周以来我一直在寻找着一些来自于最早期人类历史的物品。

Every object I've chosen is a document of the world in which it was made, but also marks a critical stage in the process by which we became fully human. And what I think makes this stone axe so interesting is how much it tells us, not just about the hand, but about the mind that made it.
我所选择的每件物品本身都一份文件,承载着制造它那个世界的信息,同时也标志着让我们成为完整人类过程中的某个关键阶段。我觉得让这把石斧如何有趣,是因为它不仅可以告诉我们其制造者手中的工艺,还有制造者脑里的想法。

The Olduvai Gorge handaxe doesn't, of course, look anything like a modern axe - there's no handle and there's no metal blade. It's in fact a piece of grey-green volcanic rock, a very beautiful grey-green, and it's in the shape of a tear-drop, and it's a lot more versatile than a modern straight axe would be.
奥杜威峡谷手斧肯定外表同现代斧头是两回事,既没有手柄,也没有金属刀刃。其实这是一块灰绿色的火山岩石,很漂亮的灰绿色,泪珠状,同时它更比现代斧头更加的多功能多用途。

The stone has been chipped to give you sharp edges along the long sides of the tear-drop, so to speak, and to give you a sharp point at one end. When you hold it up against a human hand, you are struck by how closely it matches the shape, although this one is unusually large and it is bigger than most human hands would be. It's also been very beautifully worked, and you can see the marks of the chipping that have shaped it.
 这样说吧,沿着泪珠状长长的侧面,石头被打磨得边缘颇为锋利,同时在一个端头给你打磨出尖端。当人类的手握住它时,它的形状与人手之完美匹配,将给你留下深刻的印象;尽管这一块出乎寻常的大,比绝大多数人手大得多。同时,它却是一块鬼斧神工的精品,你可以细细观察那些塑造出它的打磨痕迹。

A handaxe like this was the Swiss Army knife of the Stone Age - an essential piece of technology with multiple uses. The pointed end could of course be used as a drill, while the long blades on either side would cut trees or meat or scrape bark or skins. You can imagine using this to butcher an elephant, to cut the hide and remove the meat.
诸如以类的手斧就是石器时代的瑞士军刀,一种多功能多用途的必备良品。那尖端的一边肯定可以当成钻头,而两边长长的锋利边缘则可以用来伐树割肉,或者刮树皮扒兽皮。你可以想象一下用它来屠宰一头大象,扒皮卸肉。

The very earliest tools, like the stone chopper we were looking at in the last programme, would strike all of us as pretty rudimentary. They look like chipped cobbles, and they were made simply by taking one large piece of stone and striking it with another, chipping off a few bits to make at least one sharp cutting edge.
那些最早的工具,如我们上期节目介绍过的石制砍砸器,让我们的感觉是相当之简陋。它们外表看来就像一颗颗稍稍锤击过的鹅卵石,而且它们制作简单,通常就是拿两颗石头互相锤击,至少把一端锤打出一个尖锐的边缘出来。

But this handaxe is a very different matter. This is the expert stone-knapper, Phil Harding:
但是制作这种手斧却完完全全是另一回事了。这是石器专家菲尔·哈丁:

'Now you can see, here I've selected a piece of flint which is relatively long and thin - not a great deal of work to thin it down.
“现在你瞧瞧,这儿呢,我挑了块燧石,比较细长的,要削薄下来工作量并不大。”

'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. It is rounded and it's got flaking on both sides but, crucially, it's got a cutting edge that goes all the way round.'
“我要做的就是,选择一块够硬的石锤,这次我选这块是个头有板球大小的石英岩卵石。先挑个地方锤下去,接着我就开始从这地方开始凿了。现在呢,一旦我凿下一片碎片,我就换边在另一边也凿下一片,如此反复。等我两边都忙完一遍下来,你就可以清楚地看见我手中这物品已经轮廓清晰,基本成型了。它是满粗糙的,两边也很多缺口,但关键是它两边延伸下来的边缘都是锋利。” 

Simply watching a practised knapper at work shows just how many skills the maker of our handaxe must have possessed. Handaxes are not things you knock off; they are the result of experience, of careful planning and of skill, learned and refined over a long period.
仅仅观看一个熟手石器专家工作,就想而知我们这把石斧的制造者得拥有多高的技艺了。石斧可不是你乱凿一通就可以整出来的东西,它们可是经验的成果,凝结着精心设计与高超技艺,这些都得通过一段相当长期的学习与提升。

'Now, if I really wanted to refine that - and people did want to refine that, they really were creative people; they wanted to make beautiful objects, not just functional objects - what I could then do is change the hammer from a big stone hammer to a hammer that is much softer ... a piece of antler is a perfect hammer. And what we would do then, is actually thin the piece down and refine the shape, work our way round ... and in about 10 to 15 minutes, there's your handaxe.' (Phil Harding)
“现在,假设我真想进行精加工——其实早期人类还真想要精加工,他们可堪称是创意人,想要制造的有美感的物品,不仅仅只是功能性的物品。总之呢,我现在得做的是,收起这把大石锤,换一更加小巧、硬度低点的锤子,挑块鹿角当锤子就很合适了。接下来我们就把这里细细削薄,沿着边缘一圈削下来……这样加工上大概十到十五分钟,你的手斧就出来了。”菲尔·哈丁解释道。

But as well as great manual dexterity, what's important for our story is the conceptual leap required - to be able to imagine in the rough lump of stone the shape that you want to make, in the way a sculptor today can see the statue inside the block of marble.
然而且不谈这工艺如何之精湛,我们故事中的重点是其中所需的概念性飞跃,即能够从粗糙的石头疙瘩里面想像出你所想要制造的工具形状,正如当代的雕塑家可以从大理石块中构思出成型的雕像一样。 

This particular piece of supreme hi-tech stone is between 1.2 and 1.4 million years old. Like the chopping tool we were looking at in the last programme, it was found in East Africa, at Olduvai Gorge, that great split in the savannah in Tanzania.
这件特别的精巧高技术石器大约有120至140万岁了。正如我们上集节目中介绍的那件石制砍砸器,这石斧也出土于东非的奥杜威峡谷那道坦桑尼亚大草原上的大裂缝。

But this comes from a higher geological layer than the chopping tool, and there's a huge leap between those earliest first stone tools and this handaxe, because I think it's in this tool that we find the real beginnings of modern humans. The person that made this is, I think, a person we would have recognised as someone like us.
但这石斧出土的地质层比那砍砸器更晚一些,而且两者之间存在着最大的质的飞跃,因为我觉得这石斧才正是现代人类的真正开端。我想我们会认同制造这件物品的那个人与我们是同样的人类。

All this carefully focussed and planned creativity implies an enormous advance in how our ancestors saw the world and how their brains worked. But this handaxe may contain the evidence of something even more remarkable. Does this chipped stone tool hold the secret of speech? Was it in making things like this that we learned how to talk to one another?
 诸如此类的井井有条、构思完善的创造力,意思味着我们祖先在看待世界与其自身的大脑运上都有了长足的进步。然而这块石斧可能也蕴藏着其他更加不可寻常的证据。这块打制石器是否隐藏着语言的秘密?我们是否在制作类似这样工具时学会了彼此用语言交流? 

Recently, scientists have looked at what happens inside the brain when a stone tool is being made. They've used modern hospital scanners to see which bits of the brain are used when a knapper is working with stone - and surprisingly the areas of the modern brain activated when you're making a handaxe overlap considerably with those you use when you speak. It now seems very likely that if you can shape a stone you can shape a sentence.
近来科学家研究了制造工具的过程人类大脑中的活动情况。他们采用现代医学扫瞄仪来观察当石匠加工石器时,大脑的哪部分会被使用到。令人惊讶的是,当时进石器制作时现代人大脑活动区域与使用语言时大脑活动区域有相当大的一部分是重叠的。现在看来极有可能当你有能力加工一块石头,你就有能力加工一个句子。

Olduvai handaxe2.jpg

Of course we've no idea what the maker of our handaxe might have said, but it seems probable that he would have had roughly the language abilities of a seven-year-old child. But whatever the level, this early speech would clearly have been the beginnings of a quite new capacity for communication - and that would have meant that people could sit down to exchange ideas, plan their work together or even just to gossip. If you can make a decent handaxe like this one, it's a good bet that you're well on the way to something we would all recognise as society.
  当然我们无法知道当时我们那制造石斧的祖先可能说出什么,但极有可能他当然已经拥有约等同于七岁左右小孩子的语言能力。然而无论他当时水平如何,显然这种早期的语言是一种全新沟通能力的开始;同时这也意味着同时的人类已经能够坐下来交流思想,或共同计划下大家的工作,或就只是单纯的闲聊拉呱。假如你有能力制造出那么体面的手斧,那么我敢打赌当已经相当具有某些我们现代社会能够认可的共性。

So, 1.2 million years ago, where are we? We can make tools like our handaxe, that help us control our environment and in fact transform it - the handaxe gives us not just better food, but can also skin animals for clothing and strip branches for fire or shelter.
所以一百二十万年前,我们究竟在哪里?我们能够制造出像这种手斧一样的工具,能有效帮我们控制我们的环境,甚至改变环境;这手斧不仅可以给我们提供更好的食物,而且能剥兽皮来当衣服,扒树皮来取火或者建造庇护场所。

Not only this; we can now talk to each other and we can imagine something that isn't already in front of us. What next? The handaxe is about to accompany us on a huge journey; because with all these skills, we're no longer tied to our immediate environment.
不仅如此,我们现在已经能够彼此交流,能够想象出那些还没发生在我们面前的事物。下一步呢?这手斧将伴随着我们继续我们的伟大征途,因为拥有这些技能,我们将不再依赖于眼前的直接环境。

If we need to - even if we just want to - we can move. Travel is possible, maybe even desirable, and we can move beyond the warm savannahs of Africa and survive, perhaps even flourish, in a colder climate.
假如我们有需要,甚至只是我们有意愿,我们可以迁徙。现在长途旅行已经可能了,也许甚至是更可取的,我们可以超越这温暖的非洲大草原,在更寒冷的气候里存活,甚至繁衍生息。

The handaxe is our passport to the rest of the world, and in the study collections of the British Museum you can find handaxes from all over Africa - Nigeria, South Africa, Libya - but also from Israel and India, Spain and Korea - even from a gravel pit near Heathrow airport.
这手斧是我们探索世界其他各角落的通行证。仔细观察下大英博物馆里的各种藏品,你就能够找到出土于非洲各地的手斧——尼日利亚的,南非的,利比亚的;同时你还能找到来自以色列、印度、西班牙、韩国等地;甚至在希思罗机场附近的砾石坑也有手斧的出土呢。 

And as they moved north, these early handaxe-makers became the first Britons. Nick Ashton has been excavating on the Norfolk coast in Happisburgh:
随着他们的北迁,这些早期的手斧制造者们其中有些成为了首批英国人。尼尔·阿什顿在Happisburgh地区的诺福克海岸进行过挖掘:

'In Happisburgh we have these 30-foot (or 9-metre) cliffs, which are composed of these clays and silts and sands, and these were laid down by massive glaciation around about 450,000 years ago, which even reached the outskirts of north London. But it's beneath these clays that a local who was walking his dog found a handaxe, embedded in these organic sediments.
“在Happisburgh那里有大概三十英尺,即九米高的悬崖,由粘土、粉砂及沙石构成;这些地质层都大约形成于四十五万年前的大规模冰川时期,当时冰川延伸到现伦敦北部的郊区。某天一个当地人在溜狗时,无意发现在一把手斧镶嵌在这些粘泥层下的有机沉积物中。

These tools - which were first being made in Africa 1.6 million years ago - arrived in southern Europe and parts of Asia just under a million years ago, and reached Britain somewhere between 600,000 and 500,000 years ago.
这种最早出土于一百六十万年前非洲地区的工具,在不到一百万年前抵达了欧洲南部及亚洲部分地区,并且在约五十至六十万年前抵达了英国地区。

Of course today it's a beach, but the coast all those many years ago would've been several miles further out. And if you'd walked along that ancient coastline, you would have arrived in what nowadays we call The Netherlands, in the heart of central Europe.
当然如今这里已经成为海滩,然后远在很多很多以前,海岸线还要向前延伸出几英里远。假如你沿着这此古老的海岸线走下去,你将会最终抵达如今我们称之为荷兰的地区,欧洲中部的心脏地位。

At this time there was a major land bridge connecting Britain to mainland Europe. We don't really know why humans colonised Britain then, but perhaps it was due to the effectiveness of this new technology that we call the handaxe.'
在当时,英国与欧洲大陆之间有一条主要的大陆桥连接着。我们真不知道人类当时为什么在英国土地上生息繁衍,然而大概也是因为手斧这种有效的新兴技术吧。” 

The stone handaxe was made essentially in the same way and in the same shape for over a million years, and it must be the most successful piece of human technology in human history. But is there one last secret in the stone? Our handaxe is just a bit too large to use easily.
本质上而言,在超过一百万年的时光里,石斧都是按同一种工艺制作,保持同一种形状,所以它真不亚于人类历史最最成功的技术成果了。然而这块石头中究竟还蕴藏着哪一个终级秘密呢?我们这块手斧就是个头有点过大点儿,使用不方便。

Why would you make it like that? I showed it to an expert in ergonomic design, the inventor Sir James Dyson:
但究竟为何要制作成这样呢?我就些咨询了一位人体工程学设计上的专家、发明家詹斯·戴森爵士:

What interests me about this is that it's not really very practical. It's double-sided, it has a sharp edge both sides, and it's symmetrical. It's almost as though it's an object of beauty rather than a practical object. So I wonder actually if it's a decorative thing, or even something like a ceremonial sword to make you look brave, powerful, and maybe to pull women.
 “让我颇感兴趣的倒是它并不十分实用这一点。它有双面,两侧边缘都很锋利,而且相当对称。它看上去简直就像是一件颇俱美感的物品,而不仅仅具有实用性。所以我在思考其实它是否本身是一件装饰品,甚至像一把象征性很强的剑之类的,能衬托出你的勇气与力量,或者用来引吸女士的注意力呢。” 

'It doesn't look to me like a practical tool, it looks to me more like a show object, a decorative object, than a practical object, because I can only see that whatever I do with it I'm going to hurt my hand. So I think it's a beautiful object, but I don't believe it has any intent - serious intent - behind it.'
“反正在我看来它不像是一件实用工具,倒像是一样炫耀品、装饰品,没带多少实用性;因为我能看到无论我怎么使用它,总会弄伤自己的手。因此,我就认为这是一个美丽精致的物品,不过我倒不觉得其身上蕴含着任何特殊的含意。” 

Of course it 'is' still a practical object, but I think it's nonetheless worth speculating, as Sir James Dyson does, whether our handaxe 'was' made a bit too big for easy use, in order to show that it was made for somebody important. Are we looking here at one of the oldest of all status symbols; the expression of a social pecking order?
当然,事实上它仍旧是一件实用的物品,但我想它还满值得认真思考的,正如詹姆斯·戴森爵士那样说,是否我们这手斧被“制造”得有点过大不便使用,只为了能突显出它所有人的重要性?

And then the handaxe is so pleasing to the eye as well as to the hand, that it's hard not to ask if it wasn't to some extent made quite intentionally to be a thing of beauty. Is this the beginning of the long story of art and, indeed, of art being pressed into the service of power?
我们是否正面对着人类最古老的地位象征物品之一?代表着一个社会的尊卑秩序?然而这手斧是看上去多么的赏心悦目,拿到手上又多么的玲珑精致,使得我们不由而然地思考是否在某程度上,它是为了呈现美感而制作的。这是否是人类漫长艺术史的开端呢?

Or are we just projecting back on to these distant ancestors our own ways of thinking about beauty and status?
是否意味着艺术服务于权威的开始呢?又或许我们在一厢情愿地以我们自己对美感与地位的认知,来揣测我们那些遥远时光的祖先们? 

In the next programme we're going to be unquestionably in the realm of art - I'm going to be looking at a masterpiece of Ice Age sculpture, carved in the tusk of a mammoth. 
接下来的节目里,我们将毫无疑问地迈进艺术的领域。我将要去寻找一件冰河时期雕刻在猛犸象牙上的不朽杰作。
 

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