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In Central Asia, a Stone Age Workshop Hints at Humankind’s Obsession With Blades

Archaeologist Kubatbek Tabaldyev and canyon inscriptions. Near Ak-Olon, Kyrgyzstan. (Photograph by Paul Salopek)
Archaeologist Kubatbek Tabaldyev and canyon inscriptions. Near Ak-Olon, Kyrgyzstan. (Photograph by Paul Salopek)

Journalist-explorer Paul Salopek is walking across the world in the footsteps of our ancestors. He posts this dispatch from Ak-Olon, Kyrgyzstan.

We stand in a remote canyon in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. The canyon debouches onto a pale barren plain once crisscrossed by camel trains. Kubatbek Tabaldyev leans into a wall of black stone. The wall is graven with images of bow hunters, ibex, sheep, runic inscriptions. Tabaldyev kisses this hard canvas. He grins. Archaeologists can be like this.

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