A rock engraving made by Neanderthals in Gibraltar

Citation

Material Information

Title:
A rock engraving made by Neanderthals in Gibraltar
Series Title:
PNAS
Creator:
Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín
d’Errico, Francesco
Giles Pacheco, Francisco
Blasco, Ruth
Rosell, Jordi
Jennings, Richard P.
Queffelec, Alain
Finlayson, Geraldine
Fa, Darren A
María Gutiérrez López, José
Carrión, José S.
Negro, Juan José
Finlayson, Stewart
Cáceres, Luís M.
Bernal, Marco A.
Fernández Jiménez, Santiago
Finlayson, Clive
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Middle Paleolithic ( local )
Symbolism ( local )
Art ( local )
Iberia ( local )
Cognition ( local )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

Notes

Abstract:
The production of purposely made painted or engraved designs on cave walls—a means of recording and transmitting symbolic codes in a durable manner—is recognized as a major cognitive step in human evolution. Considered exclusive to modern humans, this behavior has been used to argue in favor of significant cognitive differences between our direct ancestors and contemporary archaic hominins, including the Neanderthals. Here we present the first known example of an abstract pattern engraved by Neanderthals, from Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar. It consists of a deeply impressed cross-hatching carved into the bedrock of the cave that has remained covered by an undisturbed archaeological level containing Mousterian artifacts made by Neanderthals and is older than 39 cal kyr BP. Geochemical analysis of the epigenetic coating over the engravings and experimental replication show that the engraving was made before accumulation of the archaeological layers, and that most of the lines composing the design were made by repeatedly and carefully passing a pointed lithic tool into the grooves, excluding the possibility of an unintentional or utilitarian origin (e.g., food or fur processing). This discovery demonstrates the capacity of the Neanderthals for abstract thought and expression through the use of geometric forms.
Original Version:
PNAS, Vol. 111, no. 37 (2014-09-16).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.

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University of South Florida
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