Tuesday, September 18, 2018

World's Oldest Drawing?

Colored marks on a stone found a cave in South Africa may be the oldest drawing in the world. National Geographic reports that the red-ochre lines are 73,000 years old, nearly 30,000 years older than the oldest cave art.
"Inside the cave, scientists have found other evidence of Homo sapiens being crafty from as far back as a hundred thousand years ago. Discoveries so far include perforated shells that archaeologists think were used as beads; tools and spear points; pieces of bone and ocher with scratched faces; and a group of artifacts that seems to point to production of a liquid form of ocher pigment. The discovery shows 'that drawing was part of the behavioral repertoire' of early humans, the researchers write. If people were making paints, stringing beads, engraving patterns on bones, and drawing, then they were behaviorally modern as early as 70,000 years ago, and perhaps earlier."

Nat Geo: "73,000-Year-Old Doodle May Be World's Oldest Drawing"


arturoquimico said...

Interesting, fascinating article and I want to keep an open mind; however, as an empirical chemist I'd much prefer "absolute" dating techniques rather than "relative" techniques. This piece of rock was found in an area that was thought to have been sealed off 70,000 years ago and there is a sentence noting skepticism in the article as the archaeologists might be biased toward African or European emergence of certain cultures. As a chemist, I'm not sure how you could absolutely date an Iron pigment... too bad it wasn't Casein where you could use C14 and get a good indication up to an estimated 50,000 years. Thanks for posting.

David Apatoff said...

Cross hatching. Can't get away from that damn cross hatching.