Ethnogeology is the study of how
geologicalfeatures were used and understood by ancient peoples around the globe, in specific reference to traditional knowledgeand to the stories and ideas passed down. The focus in past research tended to be on the unique ideas and knowledge of minoritiesand distinct cultural groups, and how this relates to universal and cross cultural knowledge discovered by humanity as a whole. Knowledge claims that are based more on universal discoveries and natural science can be found in the subjects of philosophy, chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, and geology.
One global example of geological knowledge over thousands of years is the making of rock tools and
arrowheads. World wide humans have shaped specific kinds of rock into various tools. These artifacts are evidence that there was some basic knowledge of which rocks were hard enough and easy enough to chip into various useful forms. Ancient humans discovered certain rock formations that provided them with materials to work with. Flint, obsidian, chert, copperand quartzwere some examples of useful rocks or minerals for thousands of years.
In addition, humans have always used natural, high, and dry ridges for land transportation. Natural water ways were used for boats, travel, exploration, and trade. Various types of natural elements were used around the Earth for centuries. Gold and silver are prized for jewelry and trade. Good soil is needed for agriculture. Mountains and rivers provided natural boundaries, defence, and borders for various political groups.
Wilson, Lucy 2003 "Importance de la difficulté du terrain par rapport à la distance de transport dans les stratégies de circulation des matières premières lithiques dans le Vaucluse, au Paléolithique moyen" in Préhistoire du Sud-Ouest Supplément No. 5: Les Matières Premières Lithiques en Préhistoire - Table Ronde Internationale organisée à Aurillac (Cantal), du 20 au 22 juin 2002; pp. 343-349.
Wilson, Lucy 1986 "Hominid Lithic Raw Material Procurement Behaviour at the Caune de l'Arago, France" Symposium on Social and Economic Contexts of Technological Change, World Archaeology Congress; Southampton, England
Texier, P.-J., J.-P. Brugal, C. Lemorini and Lucy Wilson 1998 "Fonction d'un site du Paléolithique moyen en marge d'un territoire: l'abri de La Combette (Bonnieux, Vaucluse)" Economie préhistorique: les comportements de subsistence au Paléolithique, XVIIIè Rencontres Internationales d'Archéologie et d'Histoire d'Antibes, Editions APDCA, Sophia Antipolis, France; pp. 325-348.
Black, David W. and Lucy Wilson 1998 "History and Geology of the Washademoak Lake Chert Source, Queen's County, New Brunswick", invited paper, presented at the Geological Society of America, 33rd Annual Meeting, Northeastern Section; Theme Session: Archaeological Stone Artifacts: Contributions to Sources, Petrology and Distribution; GSA Abstracts with Programs, vol. 30, no. 1, February 1998. 
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
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