Ancient trackway

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Ancient trackway can refer to any track or trail whose origin is lost in antiquity. Such paths existed from the earliest prehistoric times and in every inhabited part of the globe. Many ancient trackways can still be seen and walked in the United Kingdom and Ireland.


The Concise Oxford Dictionary gives the definition of "trackway" as "a path formed by the repeated treading of people or animals". Over time, many of these trackways were developed into roads. Many trackways, of both animals and people, have been preserved in volcanic ash or bog land, and reveal historical details of life in ancient times.



Some of the earliest trackways for human ancestors have been discovered in Tanzania. The Laetoli trackway is famous for the hominin footprints preserved in volcanic ash. After the footprints were made in powdery ash, soft rain cemented the ask layer to tuff, preserving the prints. The hominid prints were produced by three individuals, one walking in the footprints of the other, making the original tracks difficult to discover. As the tracks lead in the same direction, they might have been produced by a group—but there is nothing else to support the common reconstruction of a nuclear family visiting the waterhole together.

South Africa

In South Africa, two ancient trackways have been found containing footprints, one at Langebaan and one at Nahoon. Both trackways occur in calcareous eolianites or hardened sand dunes....
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