This involves the study and mixture of metals which is ultimately, and which was originally, for the making of tools and weapons. However, according to Piotr Bienkowski and Alan Ralph Millard, “there is a lack of evidence for metal tools because metal was extensively recycled, because tools were rarely placed in graves, and because much research has focused on public buildings” (Dictionary of the Ancient Near East [Philadelphia: University Press of Pennsylvania, 2000], page 294). Bienkowski and Millard go on to reveal that as far as metal tools are concerned, these are only as early as “Old Babylonian date” (from the 20th century BCE to the late 18th or early 17th centuries BCE), and that a “group of tenth-century BC iron tools from Tell Taanach in Palestine shows a similar range of implements” (Dictionary of the Ancient Near East, page 294). Even if we accept that “the Hongshan” (early Chinese culture from 4500 to 2250 BCE) had “knowledge of metallurgy and employed the use of copper (possible iron) metal tools to work their Jade masterpieces,” this puts the manipulation of metal for use as tools and/or for weapons by humans resembling our use of the same (metal) today, to as far back as between 3,800 and 6,500 years ago.
The oldest evidence of any form of written (and, hence, likely spoken) language is believed to be on pottery from Harappa, in southern Egypt, which contain “primitive words” at the tomb of the “Scorpion king” dated to between 3300 and 3200 BCE, as well as the writing of the Sumerians from “the Mesopotamian civilization around 3100 BCE.” The earliest of these Sumerian writings are believed to date between 3500 and 3000 BCE. This is also around the time (early 40th to around the 22nd centuries BCE) when the Tower of Babel (see 2., above) and other, similar structures were likely built. Further, this is the precise area where the division of human language is said to have occurred, at least according to the historical record of the Bible (Genesis 11:7-9), which is supported by the best available evidence here and in 4. and 5., below.
The engravings found on what are alleged to be 60,000 year old egg shells or on “75,000-year-old engraved ochre chunks from the Blombos cave in South Africa,” which “have mostly been one-offs and difficult to tell apart from meaningless doodles,” are not “writing” in the sense which communication is conveyed through the images and markings found in the above-cited evidence (see Kate Ravilious, “Oldest ‘writing’ found on 60,000-year-old eggshells,” New Scientist 2750 [March 3, 2010]). Another form of “writing” or human expression may be in the form of cave drawings and from “semicircles, lines and zigzags also marked on the walls,” which some claim represent a “highly symbolic” “written ‘code’” believed to have been “familiar to all of the prehistoric tribes around France and possibly beyond,” approximately 40,000 to 10,000 years ago.—See Kate Ravilious, “The writing on the cave wall,” New Scientist 2748 (February 17, 2010).
This is also around the time (between 3500 and 2400) when the Tower of Babel may have been built (see 2., above), which is also where the division of languages is said to have occurred and, more importantly, why it is believed to have occurred, which will be considered (but not merely accepted without testing) according to the following biblical account (with my underlining):
- The division of our language (as per 3., above) is traceable to the same time frame wherein we find evidence for what humans would today also consider intentionally intelligent “metallurgy,” or metal working (4500 to 2250 for the dating of tools potentially used by the early Chinese Hongshan culture [see 1., above], or to possibly as late as the 20th or even late 18th or early 17th centuries BCE for other metal tools).
- The division of human language is also consistent with what we would for good reasons consider to be the dates for the first human buildings and associated civilizations (namely, 3809 to 2853 BCE for the Egyptian pyramids, or possibly as early as 8,000 years old according to some recent findings [see 2., above]).
- The best available evidence for the division of human language comes from our dating of human writing (from 3500 to 2400 BCE according to Sumerian tomb writing and early cuneiform tablets [see 3., above]).
- All three of the above are consistent with the earliest dates for our use of the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth, and of our position on the earth, that is, for measuring or for marking our “time” and our seasons (that is, from 5000 to 2600 BCE, based on dates for the Goseck Circle and the Nebra Sky Disk, respectively [see 4., above]).
Related to the significance of the development of human language Professor Stephen Hawking writes the following from the perspective of the biological (that is, non-intentionally-intelligent) evolution of life: