An abstract drawing from the 73,000-year-old levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa

Citation

Material Information

Title:
An abstract drawing from the 73,000-year-old levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa
Series Title:
Nature
Creator:
Henshilwood, Christopher S.
d’Errico, Francesco
van Niekerk, Karen L
Dayet, Laure
Queffelec, Alain
Pollarolo, Luca
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Blombos Cave ( local )
Abstract ( local )
Drawing ( local )
Homo Sapiens ( local )
Still Bay Techno-Complex ( local )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

Notes

Abstract:
Abstract and depictive representations produced by drawing—known from Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia after 40,000 years ago—are a prime indicator of modern cognition and behaviour1. Here we report a cross-hatched pattern drawn with an ochre crayon on a ground silcrete flake recovered from approximately 73,000-year-old Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa. Our microscopic and chemical analyses of the pattern confirm that red ochre pigment was intentionally applied to the flake with an ochre crayon. The object comes from a level associated with stone tools of the Still Bay techno-complex that has previously yielded shell beads, cross-hatched engravings on ochre pieces and a variety of innovative technologies2,3,4,5. This notable discovery pre-dates the earliest previously known abstract and figurative drawings by at least 30,000 years. This drawing demonstrates the ability of early Homo sapiens in southern Africa to produce graphic designs on various media using different techniques.
Original Version:
Nature, Vol. 562 (2018-09-12).

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
Karst Information Portal

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serial

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