Earliest known drawing found on rock in South African cave | Science


It lacks the grace of Da Vinci and has none of the warmth of Rubens, but the criss-crossed pattern on the chunk of rock is remarkable all the same. According to researchers who unearthed the piece, it is the earliest known drawing in the world.

Archaeologists found the marked stone fragment as they sifted through spear points and other material excavated at Blombos cave in South Africa. It has taken seven years of tests to conclude that a human made the lines with an ochre crayon 73,000 years ago.

The simple red marks adorn a flake the size of two thumbnails which appears to have broken off a grindstone cobble used to turn lumps of ochre into paint powder. The lines end so abruptly at the fragment’s edges that researchers believe the cross-hatches were originally part of a larger design…

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