New Archaeological Discoveries

The researchers believe that the patterns on the rock fragments in Africa are 73,000 years old, but they are confused about what they can represent. The drawing is at least 30,000 years older than the oldest abstract and figurative drawings known.

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The oldest known drawing (red, cross-stitch pattern) found a cave in South Africa. C: Craig Foster / University of Bergen / Nature

Archaeologists have found spearheads and the sculpture of the engraved stone in Blombos Cave in South Africa, when they were digging the land they were digging. The tests carried out for exactly seven years to understand that the streaks on this piece of stone were made of earth by a man 73,000 years ago.

What is the symbol? This is a very difficult question to answer when it comes to analyzing the oldest graphics production. Today, what we can interpret as figurative representations may be an old, non-specific, old scribe.

Archaeologists have long been symbols of the first Homo sapiens appeared about 40,000 years ago believed that colonized the region in the period in Europe. Nevertheless, Africa, Europe and recent archaeological discoveries in Asia, the emergence of the use of symbols and argues that occur much earlier.

For example, scraping the oldest known drawing 540,000 in annual archaeological layers at Trinil (Java) are zigzag drawing of a freshwater mussels found in the shell. Furthermore objects used for personal adornment in various archaeological sites in Africa, is based on 70,000 to 120,000 years before the present.

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On one of the faces of this siliceous piece is a drawing of nine lines made with a soil-dyed tool. C: D’Errico / Henshilwood / Nature

In the new edition, the international team of researchers reported that they discovered the oldest abstract drawing made with a soil paint used as a pen. The drawing was inspected on the surface of a small piece of silica rock while the stone tools collected during an excavation at the Blombos Cave in South Africa were examined. The piece was found in an archaeological layer of 73,000 years and carried a cross pattern of nine thin lines.

It is a great methodological challenge to prove that these drawings were intentionally drawn by people. First, team members tried to reproduce the same lines using a variety of techniques: They test different watery dilutions of soil-borne dust using the edge or edge of soil paint and using a brush. Using microscopic, chemical and tribological analysis techniques, their drawings are compared to the old original. His findings confirmed that the lines were deliberately drawn on a surface flattened by friction, with a pointed dirt-colored tool. For this reason, it was understood that these drawings were dated at least 30,000 years before the earliest known drawings.

In the archaeological layer where the siliceous part was found, many other objects filled with symbolic marks were revealed, including soil-dyed pieces with very similar cross-section engravings. These findings suggest that early Homo sapiens in this part of Africa, that use different techniques to produce similar signs on different materials, and show that these signs support the hypothesis that serve a symbolic function.

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