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)

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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Human Journey

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Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek’s 21,000-mile Out of Eden Walk is a multiyear experiment in slow journalism. Moving at the beat of his footsteps, Salopek is walking the pathways of the first humans who migrated out of Africa in the Stone Age and made the Earth ours. Along the way he is covering the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by giving voice to the people who inhabit them every day. His words, as well as his photographs, video, and audio, are creating a global record of human life at the start of a new millennium as told by villagers, nomads, traders, farmers, soldiers, and artists who rarely make the news. Join the journey at outofedenwalk.org and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @OutofEdenWalk.