South African cave stone boasts oldest-known human drawing, dating back 73,000 years


A small stone flake marked with intersecting lines of red ochre pigment some 73,000 years ago that was found in a cave on South Africa’s southern coast represents what archaeologists on Wednesday called the oldest-known example of human drawing.

The abstract design, vaguely resembling a hashtag, was drawn by hunter-gatherers who periodically dwelled in Blombos Cave overlooking the Indian Ocean, roughly 190 miles (300 km) east of Cape Town, the researchers said. It predates the previous oldest-known drawings by at least 30,000 years.

While the design appears rudimentary, the fact that it was sketched so long ago is significant, suggesting the existence of modern cognitive abilities in our species, Homo sapiens, during a time known as the Middle Stone Age, the…

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