"It is very useful to think about prehistoric recycling," said Daniel Amick, a professor of anthropology at Chicago's Loyola University. "But I think that when they recycled they did so on an 'ad hoc' basis, when the need arose."
Participants in the conference plan to submit papers to be published next year in a special volume of Quaternary International, a peer-reviewed journal focusing on the study of the last 2.6 million years of Earth's history.
Norm Catto, the journal's editor in chief and a geography professor at Memorial University in St John's, Canada, said that while prehistoric recycling had come up in past studies, this was the first time experts met to discuss the issue in such depth.
Catto, who was not at the conference, said in an email that studying prehistoric recycling could give clues on trading links and how much time people spent at one site.
Above all, he wrote, the phenomenon reflects how despite living millennia apart and in completely different environments, humans appear to display "similar responses to the challenges and opportunities presented by life over thousands of years."
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