/ You are hurtled back in time to 10,000 years ago.....

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Cú Chullain - on 02 Jul 2014
....with nothing but the clothes on your back; the local tribe / inhabitants take you in, and you are able to learn their language in short order. You become their leader. The tribe numbers approximately 200. While you do not have access to the internet nor any modern technology, assume you are a bit of a polymath (not outrageously so, but have a broad base of knowledge).

Also assume you are unusually / fantastically long-lived, despite the living conditions / average mortality of your tribe (perhaps as a result of the time travel ordeal) - say a 100-150 year lifespan and remain relatively healthy / mobile for the vast majority of your life.

How far do you think one person could advance such a tribe technologically in this timeframe?

I'm assuming this is the dawn of agriculture and animal husbandry (both are just beginning - not widespread though).
balmybaldwin - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I wouldn't advance them technologically at all... but I would use my knowledge to portray myself as an all powerful wizard
Darren Jackson - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I reckon that I'd probably aim for a cultural victory. Your best bet would probably be to try to be the first to found Hinduism and then aim to build the Great Library first, and take it from there... Not forgetting to garrison your village with at least a couple of fortified archers, in case the Mongols come calling.

http://www.civilization5.com/
JM - on 02 Jul 2014
I often wonder if went back in time and with the knowledge I have now how far I would be able to advance the current technology. A lot of things I use today (computers etc), I don't really know how they work at an elemental level. I don't know how much of today I could recreate.

Ste Brom - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Well why don't you come to Birkenhead and see how you get on then?
Cú Chullain - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Darren Jackson:

I'd ask one of my tribe to go kill a boar, then another one to dirty his hands, open it up and extract its bladder, clean it, dry it, and sew it into an oval shape. Meanwhile other guys would somehow paint lines in a field. I would teach the same stuff 5 nearby tribes and soon enough would launch the Prehistoric 6 Tribes rugby tournament.

After I reckon the following should be possible:

Domestication of animals
Farming - irrigation, crop rotation
Reading/Writing
Basic metallurgy that allowed the development of tools/weapons.
Boat building - fishing/trade
Development of water/wind power
Basic building techniques/architecture/civil engineering - housing/defensive structures/aqueducts/ports
Development of basic medicine/hygiene
Cartography/Astronomy
Beer/wine - the pub
Pay day loans
jonny taylor on 02 Jul 2014
FactorXXX - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

10000 years ago?
Surely, considering that the Earth was only created 6000 years ago, that would be impossible!
dissonance - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

> How far do you think one person could advance such a tribe technologically in this timeframe?

Most people would be limited in their ability to do anything useful and I count myself in that number. The best bet would be an expert in Bronze/Iron age technologies. Anything much later and you wouldnt have the foundations to build on eg the horse collar allowed for a significant improvement in production but is of course dependent on having the horse around.
Turdus torquatus on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I'd introduce the Paleo Diet.
elsewhere on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:
Try playing about with fire, rusty rocks and charcoal to make iron for a plough or swords, spears, arrow heads and general killing stuff :-(

When people settled into villages for agriculture they shat on their own doorstep so I'd have to invent some religious hygiene rules for water unless I can convince them that germs and parasites exist.

Writing, literacy and numbers for passing on accumulated knowledge.
Plus doing some inscriptions (eg E=mc**2) would be nice for messing with the heads of future archeologists.
Timmd on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to elsewhere:

> Plus doing some inscriptions (eg E=mc**2) would be nice for messing with the heads of future archeologists.

Definitely.
Jim Fraser - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Ste Brom:

> Well why don't you come to Birkenhead and see how you get on then?


Post of the week!
elsewhere on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Timmd:
And some pictures of flying saucers....
Flinticus - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I'd get them all worshipping the great god, Richard Dawkins.

Anyway, back then Atlantis was up & running and you'd have nothing to teach them
Dave Perry - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Going to be a bit cold for farming. Isn't that just at the end of the ice age?
Dr.S at work - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

> Going to be a bit cold for farming. Isn't that just at the end of the ice age?

Not in Birkenhead - its unusually warm there so the locals can wear very little on nights out.
andymac - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to FactorXXX:
Eh.?

I thought it was the 2 blokes with the beards.

One of them was a builder and in the pictures ,looks like the tranny that won the Eurovision.
Post edited at 19:02
Lord_ash2000 - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I think you're best best would be if you knew how to smelt metal from ore using basic techniques. From there you will have instantly boosted the tribe 1000's of year ahead of other rival tribes. Having a tribe progress from the stone age to iron age in a decade or so would be the biggest advancement you could probably do.

Even if you knew how to build a microprocessor from scratch you wouldn't have any of the tools or facilities needed to make all the part of a computer or anything 'hi tec'
dominic lee - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Ste Brom:

Like:)
AndyC - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

It's never going to work out. Overcompensation following the trauma resulting from sudden loss of access to all forms of social media will see you introducing 'FaceTablet'. The whole tribe will become addicted to carving self-portraits on pieces of stone and throwing them at each other - they'll all be dead within a decade.
Orgsm on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I'd get them making and riding bikes made from bamboo

Darren Jackson - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Joking aside, I'd tell them to execute anybody claiming to be a prophet or the son of God. And to pass that message to subsequent generations... It'd save a lot of trouble in the long run.
llechwedd - on 02 Jul 2014
In reply to Ste Brom:

> Well why don't you come to Birkenhead and see how you get on then?

No good. At this time of year, most of the tribe have already covered themselves in orange pigment and migrated to Rhyl.
Jim C - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Funny you posted this.

Just today in the office the subject was raised,:-
would you want to go back in time , (and be perceived as a genius , )
or
Go forward in time to see the new technological advances, (and be perceived as a dullard.)
chris fox on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to FactorXXX:

> 10000 years ago?

> Surely, considering that the Earth was only created 6000 years ago, that would be impossible!

Are you sure bout that because lovely Raquel was pottering round in her skimpy outfit 1 million years b.c
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Million_Years_B.C.#mediaviewer/File:One_Million_Years_BC.jpg
Ben Sharp - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

They'd probably just kill you, think about it, this weedy modern mad turns up and can't do anything properly but has loads of ideas about how thing might work but just bumbles around not really being able to make things a reality and unable to hunt, grow stuff, look after animals, cook or probably even light a fire...just standing there shivering holding a bit of flint and wishing you had some firelighters and a box of matches.

You'd either be a laughing stock and they'd beat up or as someone said, they'd think you were some kind of evil wizard and burn you at the stake. "Hey guys, the earth is round and it actually goes round the sun, whereas the mood goes....urghh" (impaled).
doz generale - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I would introduce the helicopter gunship.

But seriously

Reading writing, counting, agriculture trade and defence would be the basics
ThunderCat - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I think I'd do that trick where it looks like you're detaching your thumb just to see the look of awe and wonder on there faces.

ThunderCat - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Ben Sharp:
> They'd probably just kill you, think about it, this weedy modern mad turns up ...

On the contrary, I think anyone of even average height (by todays standard) would look like a comparative giant to them.

I suppose that could either work for you, or against you (they might see you as some bloody massive scary monster or something and beat the living crap out of you).
Post edited at 08:32
Trangia - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I think you would do future humanity a great favour if you taught them that the is no such thing as a god, never was, and never would be, and that all mysteries will eventually be solved by human scientific investigation.

That might sound tough in that future kids will never experience Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy, but all in all they would be safer and wiser.

As for practical matters, you could show them the wheel and save them having to invent it.
jkarran - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Not very far.

Most of my knowledge is either basic or relates to the use of modern refined products that wouldn't exist, I have little knowledge of how to make say rope from natural materials, metal from ore, glass from sand, paper from cotton or wood, agriculture from weeds and wild pigs... the basics you need to get any kind of technology going. Also I suspect finding the natural resources needed to produce these technologies in an unmapped world and building the trade links/capability required to access them is a multi-generational process. Teaching people technical material and disseminating information without writing and paper is going to prove painfully ineffective. Finally I'd lack the diplomatic/leadership skills to carry my tribe with me.

Chances are I'd be learning from them.
jk
contrariousjim - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

- Make paper and ink to introduce systemic reading and writing of written language - setting the crucial step in the retention and dissemination in new knowledge and associated libraries
- Introduce maths and geometry - crucial to technological progress, engineering
- Introduce mapping and mineral prospecting (e.g. iron ore, saltpetre, sulphur, coal)
- Make soap, sewage systems and separate water courses, introduce basic hygeine rules, introduce tooth cleaning regimes - the introduction of good hygeine and sewage systems has been a crucial, but late inovation with a huge positive effect on human health
- Start human anatomy, physiology and pathophysiological description, introducing surgery and post-mortem dissection
- Enhance irrigation systems, composting, basic fertilisers (seaweed, wood ash) crop rotation
- Start experimental programmes to:
...develop furnace technology with an aim toward metal production
...build looms and improve natural fabric processing
...develop distillation processes
...develop the science of optics through lens making
...via scientific method, investigate medicinal properties of plants and moulds and their extracts, with an aim to find anti-septic, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic drugs
- Introduce systematic education
ow arm - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

save the world - rid it of humans
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to contrariousjim:

So please tell us how to produce paper and ink?

And how would you explain mineral prospecting to them?

And have you ever built a loom?
Tim Chappell - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I think I'd start by getting the primitives on my side so they don't lynch me. I think they'd love ACDC. So I'd start by teaching them the chords to "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution". Of course, I might have to invent the electric guitar for them first.
henwardian - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

There are a lot of VERY optimistic people in this thread!
You are NEVER going to be able to stop the formation of religions. To do so would be to try to single handedly change one of the fundamental things that makes us human. Even science is a religion; we have no meaningful way to "prove" anything because everything relies on something else so science is just a religion that is a little more coherent than all the other ones I've haerd of.

There are still a few tribes in the amazon jungle I think that have no outside world contact. You could probably do this project without a time machine.

Ultimately I think almost everyone, if put in this scenario would spend at least half their "reign" screwing up and achieving almost nothing because they kept trying to run before they could walk and then latterally trying to walk before their "tribe" could crawl.
Scarab9 - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Well this has distracted me from work quite nicely....

Initially my thought was "not much". For example I know how a gun works, and that requires some metal work, and I could probably work out the bits of producing metal from ores...I think I know enough to with some trial and error extract useful ore from the ground too. But I've no idea how I'd fine the ore to start with.

Gunpowder (or similar fast burning/explosive stuff) I could probably work out...if I had any idea where to get the basic ingredients from in the first place!

but then I got thinking more and figure I know enough basic engineering (pulleys, the feckin wheel, water wheels and wind mills) to find numerous ways to automate or make more efficient a lot of things.
Building, I could make crude bricks and mortar and know enough woodwork (which I could botch together without sophisticated tools) to improve living conditions and defence.
I could make some small but noticeable advances in agriculture.
I can get a fire started with the old two sticks method, though it's hard work, but with a flint (how to find flint I'd struggle with tbh but once I'd got some...) can do it pretty easily.
Weapons - obviously some trial and error but I could fashion a crude bow, and they'd already have spears and the like. I also understand enough about warfare (basically tactically working as a group) that my tribe would be able to beat the undisciplined rivals.
hygiene and sanitation too.

So I can vastly improve the hardships of safe shelter, adequate food, safety from other men. And once they're gone other things can develop naturally more easily as there's time for them to do so rather than all day spent trying to stay alive.

By adding basic economics, mathematics and writing into the mix I think I could give a good basis for them to build on. So in my (nicely extended) lifetime I wouldn't make THAT much difference, but I'd speed up the steps of getting the basic building blocks of society in place from which development can then speed up.

Ah that's better. Don't feel totally retarded now....

obviously I'd be reliant on them at first on how to stay alive without so many things I'm used to.
wintertree - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

> So please tell us how to produce paper and ink?

You can use thinly sliced wood, and all sorts of berries can produce something that will stain it. You'd need to keep dipping your quill. I've no idea how to make actual paper from wood, but I suspect chopping it up into little pieces and grinding it into a paste with water is a start. I do know that you need very clear water to get white paper, not brown, in the absence of bleach. For that you need a settling tank.

> And how would you explain mineral prospecting to them?

Round here, I'd take them to a glacial moraine I know that's chopped in half, pick out lumps of coal and put them on the fire. Or I'd show them various seams that have been exposed in river banks. Okay, so 10,000 years is the wrong side of a glacial period, but I'd probably start by following water courses, they expose all sorts of things.

> And have you ever built a loom?

That's probably the easiest thing on the list. A few pieces of wood and a comb made out of a bone.
wintertree - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Who knows? Random thoughts off the top of my head.

I would focus on a tradition of reasoning and education. I would build an underground ice house to preserve meats into the winters. A lot of materials science - sun and then kiln baked bricks, cloth and leather. If at all possible metal would be a high priority - but that's luck of the draw, am I sent back to somewhere with abundant, near surface minerals, that have been exposed in places, e.g. by water, so I have a hope of finding them? Agriculture - tough one as selective breeding takes longer than my life to go from grass to wheat. Hygiene - running water, roman style flushing toilets and sewage disposal. Given metal tools, lots of wood working - joinery, buildings, archery tools.

Most of this is predicated on remaining in one place. I have no idea if the tribe would be able to sustain that as hunter gatherers.
wintertree - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to henwardian:
> Even science is a religion; we have no meaningful way to "prove" anything because everything relies on something else so science is just a religion that is a little more coherent than all the other ones I've haerd of.

Balderdash and piffle.

Science is not a religion because it derives from objectively testable facts, and not faith.

You are right that everything in science relies on something else - there is always a limit to our knowledge. This serves as a nice illustration of why science is exactly not a religion:

1 In science that limit is being actively explored in a methodical way, with evidence and reason being used to interpret and understand what is found. To date what is found is always a new frontier that raises new questions. The limit of knowledge and understanding has changed dramatically over the existence of Science, with ideas - new and old - continually being proved wrong and denounced as they are tested and found wanting.

2) In religion that limit is not explored, because faith provides an absolute answer. Most religions do not change, are not tested, and are not rooted in evidence that may be objectively tested by experiment.
Post edited at 12:18
mattrm - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> Most of this is predicated on remaining in one place. I have no idea if the tribe would be able to sustain that as hunter gatherers.

10,000 years ago (8,000 BC) was the start of the Neolithic era and the beginning of agriculture. The OP says that this is what he's basing this on, so I'm rather assuming that you'll be staying in one place.

Bearing in mind that the Sumerians began to write (beginning history and ending the Neolithic) in 5,500 BC and that the Bronze Age started (depending a bit on where you are) around 3,000 BC. Then I'd say as you know that both are possible they'd be doable. Assuming you are able to find the raw materials on the surface/some other easily accessible area.

If you could get up to iron then lots of stuff is possible, proper ploughs, woodworking, lots of other useful tools.

Fairly simple stuff like irrigation, sewerage etc would be possible as well. Some agricultural improvements take quite a long time (selective breeding) but you could definitely start that off.
Tim Chappell - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to wintertree:


The same caricature versions of religion come up again and again on these threads. It's worth combating them, if that can be done without getting sucked into endless troll wars. So briefly...

Religion, or at least religion that's worth thinking about, does not involve blind irrational faith. That's just a misunderstanding. Perhaps we should drop the word faith altogether, and talk about trust instead. To trust someone is to commit yourself to him, on the basis of what you already know about him, for the future, which you don't yet know about. Everybody does this with someone, if they have any friends at all. Religion involves doing the same with God. If you think, on the basis of experiential evidence, that God loves you and wants you to know him and love him back, it's not necessarily either blind nor irrational to trust him.

It's true that religion isn't science. But that's all right, because lots of forms of human knowledge, experience, and understanding aren't science either.

Religion's not being science doesn't mean that there can't be objective truth in religion, and doesn't mean that religion can't be explored and tested. The way you test it and explore religion is the same as with a view of ethics: by trying to live it, and seeing if it works. That's nothing like scientific testing/ exploration, but it is testing/ exploration. And the answer to the question whether it works, in the case of Christianity and in my own life and in lots of others', would appear to be Yes.

I'm saying nothing more on this thread, though I will make a prediction. There will be responses to this post that prompt the following question: "Why are you so angry?" Well, if that cap fits your head, have a think about it.
wintertree - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:
I don't see any anger in your reply, no idea what that comment is about. by trying to live it, and seeing if it works - yes, that's proof that it's a suitable code for you to live by, but it it no way addresses henwardian's claim that we have no meaningful way to "prove" anything because everything relies on something else so science is just a religion and my counter claim that science is based on objective tests which clearly separates it from religion. Your "trying to live it" test is subjective - it is about you, and your interaction with a concept. There's nothing wrong with that, but it does not allow that religion to objectively explain and answer questions about the universe in the way a theory backed by repeatable objective tests does.

There is similarity - science never really explains all, to a degree it is about interpreting what is seen to the best of our understanding, and that has parallels to religious views. My post was not an attack on "blind irrational faith", but on henwardian's daft claim that because science does not have ultimate answers, it is a religion. Is faith blind? In my view yes, because it falls short of objective, repeatable tests. In the eyes of others, no, because it "feels right", or because others believe, or because of subjective historical evidence etc... All that says is that some people apply rigid scientific criteria to belief, and others do not. There is no problem with that. I've never met someone who is objective in everything they do.
Post edited at 12:51
henwardian - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to wintertree:

> Science is not a religion because it derives from objectively testable facts, and not faith.

I contest that science derives from the absolute and untestable faith in the process of observation, explanation, prediction, repeat. There isn't any absolute way to prove that this is actually a valid method for finding the truth.

> 1 In science that limit is being actively explored in a methodical way
> 2) In religion that limit is not explored,

Yeah, you kinda got me here. Science does allow for constant and major changes in its beliefs which makes it very different from other religions.
Sir Chasm - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell: Religion, or at least religion that's worth thinking about, does not involve blind irrational faith. That's just a misunderstanding. Perhaps we should drop the word faith altogether, and talk about trust instead. To trust someone is to commit yourself to him, on the basis of what you already know about him, for the future, which you don't yet know about. Everybody does this with someone, if they have any friends at all. Religion involves doing the same with God. If you think, on the basis of experiential evidence, that God loves you and wants you to know him and love him back, it's not necessarily either blind nor irrational to trust him.

I think you've missed a step, the "blind irrational faith" is the belief that there are gods, not the fact that you trust them after you have decided they exist.
Dom Whillans on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Ste Brom:

> Well why don't you come to Birkenhead and see how you get on then?

I've lived in tranmere for 18 months... every time i go through Birkenhead I shudder.
gribble - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:

My reply copuld well illicit the response "why are you so angry"... Your quote of 'to trust someone is to commit yourself to him, on the basis of what you already know about him, for the future, which you don't yet know about' is somewhat extremely sexist, and that miffs me. I have just got married to a member of the opposite species who fits your description exactly, and is not a "him". She's also real, and I can see her and touch her and everything.
andrewmcleod - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to henwardian:
> I contest that science derives from the absolute and untestable faith in the process of observation, explanation, prediction, repeat. There isn't any absolute way to prove that this is actually a valid method for finding the truth.

This is a misunderstanding of science. Science does not (in its purest form) 'prove' anything. So science is the ultimate lack of faith. Proof is purely the domain of mathematics. Science simply models and predicts, which turns out to be enormously useful. You probably can prove that the scientific method is the best way to do this (although I am struggling to think how you would phrase the problem).
Post edited at 14:07
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to wintertree:

Thinly sliced wood? How are you going to 'thinly slice it' given you've no knife yet?

So how are you going to build a settling tank? especially as you admit you don't know how to make paper anyway?

So the mineral prospecting would consist of coal only?

Are you sure they won't already have the simple kind of loom you may be able to build?
Dauphin - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Make weapons. Kill all the blokes, shag all the women.

D
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to doz generale:

Reading writing & counting?

Do you really think they won't be able to count? ("I've no idea how many children - or fingers I've got, no one taught me to count")

Reading/writing. First thing you need is to break down all the sounds the language makes and assign characters to them. This is no simple task I can assure you. Try it with another language!

How would you teach agriculture? "Here's a bag of grain I made earlier lads" or "sow these potatoes I brought from south america". "Next week we'll do crop rotation. If I can find another crop to rotate"
mattrm - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

> Thinly sliced wood? How are you going to 'thinly slice it' given you've no knife yet?

One word, papyrus. Stuff all the 'thinly slicing' malarky and just use reeds. Simples. Or parchment, being another nice (fairly) easy one.

Also while I'm all for a fun argument, the OP did state:

"assume you are a bit of a polymath (not outrageously so, but have a broad base of knowledge)."

So based on that, I'd say that making paper would be a go-er in 100 years.
MG - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Sir Chasm:
Spot on.

And while were are at it, no one has ever given me a good reason why New Year's day and Christmas day are not the same date, which they should be given they are celebrating the same thing. If Christians can't get basics like that right, or agree on the date of Easter between East and West, why should I believe in miracles and prayer?
Post edited at 15:36
MG - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Tim Chappell:
Well, if that cap fits your head, have a think about it.

Umm, OK. I'll still get sunburnt ears and look like an American. What's your point?
Post edited at 15:40
wintertree - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

> Thinly sliced wood? How are you going to 'thinly slice it' given you've no knife yet?

Trees and wood were felled and worked in the stone age, before metal. You can split wood as well as cut it. You can grind and polish a flat face with nothing more than stones, sand, and elbow grease.

> So how are you going to build a settling tank? especially as you admit you don't know how to make paper anyway?

I've never built a garden pond with paper.... How would I make a tank? I could hollow out a log and use a smaller hollowed out wooden bucket to fill it with water, and then leave it to settle. Or I could dig a hole in the ground using axes and hands, and the pack it with clay to line it. I'm sure there are other ways I could think off if I devoted more then 5 minutes.

Further, how hard can paper making be? I would try chopping up bits of wood into small pieces with an axe, grinding them in stone pestle and mortar, soaking them in different things. I've been given 150 years to perfect it.

If every attempt at paper making failed then I could always use use leather - that can be written on. Or failing that I would use wax tablets if I could find some bees; the melting point is low enough that, with care, wooden ladles could be used. Or failing that I could use clay tablets and let them bake in the sun. Or writing could be carved into wood.

> So the mineral prospecting would consist of coal only?

Clearly, which is why I said "...show them various seams that have been exposed in river banks. ... I'd probably start by following water courses, they expose all sorts of things." - because "all sorts of things" means coal. Oh, no, it doesn't. As I said, it depends on the area you are in! Round here it's coal, up 25 miles up the river you see galena.

Bob_the_Builder - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

I'm pretty sure really basic paper is just wood pulp that has been soaked and pressed. A friend of mine made paper in primary school for a project. It can't be TOO hard. Papyrus is a much easier option. Woven and pressed reeds. Ink can be all kinds of things.

As far as counting, I think creating basic mathematical laws would be fairly easy and greatly expand their ability to count. Also adding the concept of zero would bring maths ahead a long way.

Reading and writing, you could cheat and teach them all English.

I don't know much about agriculture but I reckon I could get a reasonable start on selective breeding at least. OP says agriculture has just started so I assume that means there are some very basic crops available.

If you knew you were going to go back in time obviously you would study up a bit on this stuff!
FactorXXX - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I'd rename the tribe 'The Peaks'.
MG - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I think introducing toe-nail clippers would be huge advance and make me lots of friends quickly and cement my position as leader.

cander - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to wintertree:

If you sent them south they could find some siderite - Neolithic to Iron age in one major leap - now thats progress!

ads.ukclimbing.com
Scarab9 - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

> Thinly sliced wood? How are you going to 'thinly slice it' given you've no knife yet?

> So how are you going to build a settling tank? especially as you admit you don't know how to make paper anyway?

> So the mineral prospecting would consist of coal only?

> Are you sure they won't already have the simple kind of loom you may be able to build?

as well as grinding it up with water to create a pulp and so some crude paper, you can also simply write on the inside of bark (which can be thinned by scraping it). I don't really get why people are assuming you need to make PAPER to record information. We've got soem pretty amazing info from CAVE DRAWINGS after all. And there's lots of options for semi portable in betweens
Bob_the_Builder - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to cander:

But you need to find copper so you can get your telegraph system up and running!
FactorXXX - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Scarab9:

And there's lots of options for semi portable in betweens#

Otherwise known as tablets...
Scarab9 - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to wintertree:


> So how are you going to build a settling tank? especially as you admit you don't know how to make paper anyway?
----------
> I've never built a garden pond with paper.... How would I make a tank? I could hollow out a log and use a smaller hollowed out wooden bucket to fill it with water, and then leave it to settle. Or I could dig a hole in the ground using axes and hands, and the pack it with clay to line it. I'm sure there are other ways I could think off if I devoted more then 5 minutes.


so I'm not the only one reading some of the negative responses and thinking "well I'd do alright but I'm surprised you can survive in THIS age never mind back then if you can't work out how to create/find a way to collect water!"
Siward on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dauphin:

10,000 years ago, you're right.

Concentrate on the simple things: weapons, agriculture/domesticating animals, the wheel.

And I'd invent tetrapaks as well.
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to mattrm:

Excellent choice mattrm. Does papyrus grow where you live??
mattrm - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

Well if it were 10,000 years ago on the cusp of agriculture, I'm rather assuming we're probably in Iran/Iraq/Egypt. However the OP's question (have you read it fully?) is pretty hand wavey and we're talking about time travel in the first place. Also we're assuming that who ever has been sent back is a bit of a jack of all trades.

I'm quite sure (bearing what I've just written) that paper/parchment of some kind would be possible in the timescale of 100 years.
Owen W-G - on 03 Jul 2014
Domestication of animals/crops would impossible in a lifetime.

I'm sure they would be teaching us about technology. They'd be experts at hafting stone points onto spears, exploiting natural resources at their disposal etc. Ditto astronomy. They'd have spent a lot longer looking at the stars.

Explaining how the Universe works/Darwinism is a possibility but would it advance them?

Teaching them numeracy and literacy is a possibility, since they would be able to pick it up no probs but would it have any practical benefits?

A very interesting question but in short I doubt we could do much to advance a group who are most interested in movements of animals, coming of seasons, hunting methods, surviving winter and the like, all of which they would have considerably more expertise than you.
andrewmcleod - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

I suspect that you will never get that far with only 200 people. Introducing 'civilization' (not the government bit but the bit where different people do different things) is probably the biggest change you could make, and would be necessary anyway if you wanted any of your knowledge to last beyond your lifetime.

Unfortunately it is probably easier said than done!
cander - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

Not sure there was a telegraph in the Iron age - the Conservative party wasn't founded until 1834!
elsewhere on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Owen W-G:
> Domestication of animals/crops would impossible in a lifetime.

Domestication of animals is possible within a few decades - the Soviets did it by breeding tamer foxes with tamer foxes and wilder foxes with wilder foxes. The ended up with two breeds - one like tame pets and one wild/agressive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesticated_silver_fox
Post edited at 17:33
kathrync - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to MG:

I think my major contribution would be to bypass the Whilans harness and go straight to harnesses with leg loops :o)
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to elsewhere:

So how come no ones managed with things like Zebra & Bison?

So here you are in the wilderness and one of your tribe points out a wild Oxen. Next step please??
elsewhere on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:
Possibly because zebras and bison aren't the same as silver foxes.

Now that I know zebra and bison are to be avoided I'd concentrate on the sheep, goats, cattle, dogs, cats, chickens, geese, swans, horses etc that we know are better prospects.

The experiment selected the animals for breeding based on how they reacted to humans so I'd do the same starting with something smaller than oxen.
Post edited at 17:52
Scarab9 - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

Well before
> So how come no ones managed with things like Zebra & Bison?

> So here you are in the wilderness and one of your tribe points out a wild Oxen. Next step please??

Well that's quite easy. Desperate them based on desired characteristics and when mating season comes round your small herd of slightly friendlier zebra will get jiggy and the offspring will statistically prove to be friendlier than the previous generation were (prior to the split)

Obviously you need to be able to control them enough to separate them and keep them in their groups. That's easier with some animals and that's partly where the answer to your "why not zebra and bison?" Question. Even the most aggressive old school sheep was likely a fair bit easier to herd than a bison.

Also you would need someone creative to think it up, the time to implement it, and either handy geographically secure areas (like a steep sided valley to keep them together) or a lot of fencing or walls.
Bob_the_Builder - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

Aren't they herd animals? Therefore you have more than one. So you just build a big fence around them. Easy and peasy! They'll get used to humans over time.
dissonance - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Scarab9:

> Well that's quite easy. Desperate them based on desired characteristics and when mating season comes round your small herd of slightly friendlier zebra will get jiggy and the offspring will statistically prove to be friendlier than the previous generation were (prior to the split)

You sure about that? Some animals are pretty much impossible to domesticate, Zebras being one of them.

dissonance - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Owen W-G:

> A very interesting question but in short I doubt we could do much to advance a group who are most interested in movements of animals, coming of seasons, hunting methods, surviving winter and the like, all of which they would have considerably more expertise than you.

I think certain skills would be beneficial eg a master bowyer would be able to give a massive leap forward. Someone with good knowledge of the history of tanning and general materials would add to it as well.
Bob_the_Builder - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Scarab9:

In Minecraft I just dig a hole two blocks deep. They fall on of their own accord. I'm sure it is similar in real life?

> Desperate them

You're mean! I'm calling the RSPCA! =P
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to elsewhere:

Assuming you are not going to breed silver foxes for food, milk etc., where are going to get sheep goats cattle dogs cats chickens geese swans & horses from ???? Don't forget you haven;'t got them yet! Domestic dogs for example didn't start off as wild dogs and chickens only existed in their wild form in the far east'
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to elsewhere:

Sos you';d start with something smaller than oxen? Such as???? The ancestor of modern cattle were somewhat larger than the modern ones. And a lot wilder!
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Bob_the_Builder:

So bob, just tell me how you'd persuade your group to build a fence strong enough to contain a herd of big wild & undomesticated cattle - think aurochs, and then convince them to attempt to coral them into your fenced off area?

Assuming you succeed, how are you going to ensure they have enough food and simply won't knock the whole fence to bits the moment you appear at the edge of the fence with a handful of grass and scare them?

OK, lets assume you've got them less frightened and stopped them panicking every time you stick your head over the fence.

How are you going to tame them enough to do 'selective breeding?? Don't forget even domestic cattle cannot be bred in small enclosures without a huge amount of input from the herdsman who has to ensure there is only one bull present and to ensure only one cow - the ones you want to breed from, are present. Oh,and if the other bulls in your fenced off area smell the cow you've selected how will you keep them apart? Which has just reminded me. Can you tell me how you';ll know that the cow is about to come in to season? This is important.
Bob_the_Builder - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

These are very interesting questions. I've done a bit of searching about cattle domestication to find some answers.

Apparently all modern domestic cattle can be traced back to between 1-3 specific "domestication events". In fact one theory suggests that all domestic cattle descend from a herd of only 80 animals. So yes, domesticating cattle was super difficult.

This was done in the Neolithic period around 10,500 years ago so it may have already happened when we get there! The oldest signs of domestication of cattle are in the Caucasus so depending on where exactly we time travel to we may or may not have them aready.

I couldn't find anything explaining directly how they were domesticated but there are some quotes suggesting that archaeologists think individual animals were snared and contained.

Goats were the first commonly domesticated animals according to wikipedia, also in that 10-11,000 yrs ago range. Much easier to capture and control I would imagine.

I must admit I was just envisaging using natural barriers reinforced with some man-made ones to control the grazing area and let them live mostly wild.

To selectively breed I would either try to separate the males, or just slaughter the ones that I didn't want to procreate. From what I found online, domestication took place over around 1000 years, I reckon with an idea what end-result I'm looking for I could speed that up slightly. I am of course (stated in the OP) a polymath, I should know a little bit about animal husbandry.

As far as persuading my group, I decided that in my interpretation of the OP, as the leader they would do what I say. Anyway if people worked together to kill mammoths for survival, I would simply have to persuade them that investing the time and risk with this herd of crazy cattle would secure food sources for a potentially infinite period.

Thanks for the good questions/challenges, these kinds of thought experiments are more fun if ideas are properly challenged!
elsewhere on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:
Start with dogs, sheep and goats.

It's curious that wild animal behaviour of can quickly change. I first saw an urban fox at night from 50m away about 25 years ago but now I see them in bright sunshine from a few metres away.
Post edited at 21:22
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

Some of the problems.

Just because you've somehow become their leader doesn't mean you'll be able to persuade them to do things new - in the same way we don't always listen to new ways or ideas. Those that don't like you and your new ideas will simply walk. Few tribal societies have strictly enforced membership of groups.

Others in the group may well challenge you to your leadership and agressive members may simply kill you.

It is no simple matter to pursued a group of adults who've been doing things one way for several thousand years to suddenly start doing totally different things. They are not stupid and probably don't want to take the collective risks in gambling with new unproven ideas.

Another problem is for each invention there were a series of previous inventions without which the end result cannot happen on its own. , Although for example we all know how a light bulb works and could probably explain it to someone else, it took the inventors years of practice to get the process right. And they already had specialist tools at hand to make the thin filaments of tungsten, the thin glass and had already invented the metal press and the vacuum pump and a means of putting in an inert gas into the bulb to prevent the filament from burning out too quickly.

So even something quite simple takes several other processes which in turn have to be invented prior to each stage of the invention. Any here know how to make tungston? Or obtain Argon gas for example? And we all know glass is nothing but melted silica. Can anyone do it here without having at hand a furnace and a method of blowing a bulb thin enough?c Oh, and don't forget you'll have to invent electricity too before you get that far.

Copper for example. Any one recognise copper ore? Or even if it is in the country where this tribe lives? How would you find it if it was under vegetation for example? River beds have been mentioned? OK so you recognise the green stains on river bank rock strata. Ever tried to break the rock and extract the copper ore? I've stood in front of a rock face in Ireland and tried for ages to break bits of the ore off. I never succeeded yet I was stood on piles of waste rock which our bronze age ancestors did manage to extract ore from and broke it up using large beach boulders which were harder than the ore they'd extracted. Its known they used fire and water to break the ore bearing rock away from the face. This face happened to be 2000ft up the side of a mountain. So they needed buckets, fire and water. A lot of it!!! Then there's the transport down hill again. Tons of the ore to transport to get it to somewhere you build a kiln. Anyone know how this is done? You cannot light a fire., toss the ore into the fire and hope an axe jumps out. So before you can do this you'll need to know how to make buckets, moulds, bellows and a furnace.

Now try to convince sensible men and women that you want them to take loads of water up a hill, light fires, spend hours and hours breaking green bits of rock out of a rock face, transport it all downhill again, construct a 'furnace', bellows, moulds and a ladel and don't forget to work out how to stop the molten copper from simply dropping onto the ground as it melts and collecting piles of unusable dross !!!!

"Listen lads, just trust me!!! In several hours we'll have a bronze axe. OK, OK I know it won't be as sharp or as hard as the stone ones you've got - just trust me - its an advance - honest!"

"OK, OK so I've never done this before. But I do know how to do it. Honest!!! Come back!!!!!"
malk - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

and then you die from arsenic poisoning before you pass on your smelting techniques..
good job we can write, eh?
butteredfrog - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to dissonance:

> You sure about that? Some animals are pretty much impossible to domesticate, Zebras being one of them.

Didn't Buffalo Bill Cody ride one in his wild west shows?
Dave Perry - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to butteredfrog:

What a laugh! Here we are attempting to teach them something useful and we can't even work out whether zebras can be domesticated!
"We'll stick to what we know thanks chief!"
dissonance - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to butteredfrog:

> Didn't Buffalo Bill Cody ride one in his wild west shows?

Quite possibly. Its not that they havent been tamed individually from time to time, one example was a British aristocrat who used a team to pull his carriage, but that they havent been consistently and reliably tamed aka domesticated.
dissonance - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

> It is no simple matter to pursued a group of adults who've been doing things one way for several thousand years to suddenly start doing totally different things. They are not stupid and probably don't want to take the collective risks in gambling with new unproven ideas.

I dont think it would be completely impossible but you would need some specialist and rare skills, in this day and age, to manage it. An experimental archaeologist would be the best suited to it. With a decent knowledge of the development from say 10000-1000 could make leaps forward in several areas.
Anything much later than that and the leap needed to get to the level required would be to great.
ads.ukclimbing.com
wintertree - on 03 Jul 2014
In reply to Dave Perry:

> "OK, OK so I've never done this before. But I do know how to do it. Honest!!! Come back!!!!!"

I decided from the situation outlined in the OP that you'd gained serious powers of persuasion during the time travel... Otherwise it's a remarkably dull question that ends with you dying within a few weeks.

I still think if you lucked out and found a surface coal seam that could be quite persuasive. As I understand it collecting wood to last a winter was often a dominating activity.

There's a classic 30s sci if short story much like this - aliens, not time travel though. He got them to steam powered farming, they nearly got wiped out by a big flood he didnt anticipate - when he died they burried him and his model steam engine and went back to the old ways.
butteredfrog - on 04 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

At 10,000 yrs the tribes bushcraft skills would be at their peak, i.e. The perfect Stone Age society, think pre-European influenced American Indian or Aboriginal culture. (Peoples that have existed with an earlier technology alongside "us")

Therefore they know how to hunt, have a BBQ, and generally look after themselves. As a modern "human" the biggest or only thing you could bring to the table, for the advancement of the tribe would be the introduction of metals IMO.

Adam.



Lurking Dave - on 04 Jul 2014
In reply to butteredfrog:

I agree with the metals idea - and charcoal which, surely, anyone on here could manage without too much trouble?

Cheers
LD
Siward on 04 Jul 2014
In reply to Lurking Dave:

The bow and arrow and maybe crossbow would be achievable

The wheel

And as I said before, tetrapaks.
andrewmcleod - on 04 Jul 2014
In reply to Lurking Dave:

> I agree with the metals idea - and charcoal which, surely, anyone on here could manage without too much trouble?

Charcoal is apparently really really hard to make well, although I guess you have a lot of time to practice.
DaCat - on 04 Jul 2014
I would enslave all the men and use them for breeding purposes :)

nufkin - on 06 Jul 2014
In reply to Cú Chullain:

This is a good topic. People might be interested to read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court for Mark Twain's take on it

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