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Human evolution: Artists’ workshop from 100,000 years ago


Dwarfs the Lascaux caves (30,000 mya) for antiquity.

In “Ancient ‘paint factory’ unearthed” (BBC News, October 13, 2011), Jonathan Amos reports

The kits used by humans 100,000 years ago to make paint have been found at the famous archaeological site of Blombos Cave in South Africa.

The hoard includes red and yellow pigments, shell containers, and the grinding cobbles and bone spatulas to work up a paste – everything an ancient artist might need in their workshop.

It is proof, say researchers, of our early ancestors’ complexity of thought.

And at Nature, Zoë Corbyn tells us of “African cave’s ancient ochre lab: Find suggests that Stone Age sophistication extends further back than thought. (13 October 2011):

Previous evidence, such as shell beads, ochre engravings and ancient glue from various middle Stone Age sites, indicates that humans had evolved complex cognition by between 80,000 and 70,000 years ago. Henshilwood’s finding stretches that further.

It also provides the earliest evidence for the use of containers, pre-dating previous examples3 by 40,000 years, says Henshilwood. The abalone shells’ respiratory holes would probably have been plugged to contain the liquid mixture.

Also, Complex tools discovered from 350,000 years earlier than expected

Stone tools nearly 2 million years old – and Michael Cremo is still totally wrong?

Were people cooking two million years ago?

Is this “science” or “anti-science,” and who should care?

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