Is it a hashtag? Is it a web address? Is it art? You have to draw a line somewhere
Rock, my world, says the old man … Image credit: C. Foster
pics Scientists have discovered, hidden in a cave in South Africa, the oldest drawing to date, made around 73,000 years ago. And it looks suspiciously like a worldwide web address.
The drawing consists of red sloppy lines arranged in a hatch pattern on a boulder, some markings are horizontal, others are in angles such as forward and backward slashes. The art is all very minimalistic, abstract and open to interpretation – some journalists have even described it as the world's first hashtag.
Pfft, what do they know? Here on the El Reg archeology office, the scribbles for us learned to see vultures
// w – the first traces of humanity
http: // www ... URL noted for the first time.
The "art" dates from before all the previous proof of human sketching with at least 30,000 years, according to an article published in Nature on Wednesday.
"Before this discovery, Palaeolithic archaeologists had long been convinced that unambiguous symbols first appeared when Homo sapiens entered Europe, about 40,000 years ago, and later replaced local Neanderthals," said Christopher Henshilwood, lead author of the paper and research chair. at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa.
"Recent archaeological discoveries in Africa, Europe and Asia, where members of our team have often participated, support a much earlier development for the production and use of symbols."
A 2-D recreation of the sketch … Image credit: Henshilwood and Nature.
Look, it looks totally like a // w … Source: 30 seconds with a paint program after a beer
The illustration was discovered in Blombas Cave, a well-known archaeological site on the coast along the South Cape in South Africa. Researchers have been roaming around the room for more than 25 years, and objects have been excavated; it contains material dating back more than 100,000 to 70,000 years ago, during a period known as the Middle Stone Age.
Is it really a deliberate drawing or just a series of markings randomized? At first glance it is difficult to say. But the team was convinced when they viewed the sample under a microscope.
The piece of silcrete rock was smeared with ocher, a mixture of natural clay. In the same cave the researchers also fished a toolkit with ocher, a hot stamp bone, charcoal and abalone shells with a pigmented composition that is more than 100,000 years old.
Boffins unearth the ultimate antique art – 500,000 years old
"The experimental marking of silcrete flakes with ocher colored chalks or paint indicates that the lines are gone [the sample] were produced with a colored pencil and form a drawing ", says the newspaper, so that's where art is.
Other examples of early human creativity are an engraving on the scale of a mussel that dates back to 540,000 years ago, which was thought to have been done by a Homo erectus. A series of stripes were also discovered in three caves in Spain that were made 65,000 years ago by Neanderthals, although there is some debate about whether that is art or not.
"This shows that the early Homo sapiens in the southern Cape used different techniques to produce similar signs on different media," says Henshilwood.
"This observation supports the hypothesis that these signs were symbolic in nature and represented an inherent aspect of the behavioral modern world of these African Homo sapiens, the ancestors of us all today." ®