Earliest known human drawing discovered in South African cave

2018-09-15 11:22:13 | From:CGTN

  Unlike the exquisite and elegant paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, the criss-crossed pattern on a fragment of rock is remarkable all the same, as it is believed to be the earliest known drawing in the world.

  The discovery of the drawing at Blombos Cave, some 300 km east of Cape Town in South Africa, "pre-dates the earliest previously known abstract and figurative drawings by at least 30,000 years," according to new research by Nature, an international journal of science.

  The 73,000-year-old drawing vaguely resembles a hashtag sign with several criss-crossed lines and was made with red ochre pigment, which has been used by the homo genus for at least 285,000 years.


  A handout photo released on Setepmerb 12, 2018 by Nature Publishing Group shows the Blombos Cave drawing with ochre pencil on silcrete stone. The earliest known drawing in history — a red, cross-hatched pattern — has been unearthed in South Africa, reports a study published online this week in Nature. [Photo: NATURE PIBLISHING GROUP/CRAIG FOSTER]

  Researchers who unearthed the piece said the abstract drawing is "a prime indicator of modern cognition and behavior" by early Homo Sapiens in southern Africa.

  "It is definitely an abstract design and it almost certainly had some meaning to the maker, and it probably formed a part of the common symbolic system understood by other people in this group," Christopher Henshilwood, a leader of the research team and archaeologist from the University of Bergen in Norway, told Reuters.

  The rock with the drawing measures about 38.6 mm long and 12.8 mm wide.

  "The abrupt termination of all lines on the fragment edges indicates that the pattern originally extended over a large surface. The pattern was probably more complex and structured in its entirety than in this truncated form," Henshilwood added.

  Numerous other artifacts were found in Blombos Cave, including beads covered in red ochre, engraved ochre fragments, and a paint-making kit dating back around 100,000 years.

  Africa is considered to be the birthplace of modern man with Homo Sapiens first appearing there more than 170,000 years ago.

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