Bang the small rocks on the big ones
Til the small ones are sharp and clean
Catch something, kill something
New blade cuts real keen

And then the grass grows up to cover up
The firepit and the forge
Half a world away from the Olduvai Gorge

Chew these roots for a toothache
Chew these ones for atmosphere
Dream the pleasant dreams that people dream
When they grow up down here

And then the grass grows up to cover up
The firepit and the forge
Half a world away from the Olduvai Gorge

Take care of the old man
See if he's in pain
Have somebody stay with him
Comfort him when he complains

Keep to ourselves mostly
Few friends and fewer closer friends
Lead a long life if you're lucky
Hope it never ends

And then the grass grows up to cover up
The firepit and the forge
Half a world away from the Olduvai Gorge


Lyrics submitted by mossushi

Sourdoire Valley Song song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentA Neanderthal burial site was discovered in the Sourdoire Valley in France in 1908. The Neanderthals, of course, dwindled and died out, replaced by the more successful Homo sapiens, AKA modern man. Darnielle (as usual) tells the story of the losers. Here are the quiet last days of a dying subspecies of human. See also "Tollund Man," "Deuteronomy 2:10"
    foggyon March 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother ancient human fact backs up foggy's interpretation. Olduvai Gorge is also sometimes called the "Cradle of Mankind". Numerous early hominid fossils dating all the way back to 2 million years ago have been found there.

    I think the wistful delivery of the line "Half a world away from the Olduvai Gorge" really drives it home. Great song.
    mach13on April 05, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the lines "Take care of the old man, See if he's in pain, Have somebody stay with him, Comfort him when he complains" refer to a skeleton found in the Shanidar cave in what is now Iraq (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…). It was a skeleton of a forty or fifty year old man, with severe disabilities, including a damaged eye, withered, largely useless right arm and numerous deformities on his legs and foot, which would likely have left him with a bad limp. He would have been useless to the tribe, but the injuries had healed years before death, showing the Neanderthals looked after their sick and aged.
    vicioussatsumaon September 12, 2011   Link

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