Seven red marks resided in a cave in South Africa for about 73,000 years until a few years ago when rocks from the cave were extracted for examination.
Now scientists believe they are the oldest drawings yet discovered that were made by humans. They are about the side of two thumbnails, and what they mean, if anything, is anybody’s guess.
They are made of red ochre, a naturally occurring pigment, and probably applied to the rock with a stick. This New York Times story has the details:
Using a microscope, a laser and a scanning electron microscope, they (the scientists) determined that the marks were on top of the rock and that they were made from red ocher, a type of natural pigment that was often used to make prehistoric cave paintings. In fact, ancient humans in the Blombos Cave were making ocher paint as far back as 100,000 years ago. Source: Oldest Known Drawing by Human Hands Discovered in South African Cave – The New York Times
Previously, the oldest known drawings were about 40,000 years old.
Get a FREE copy of Kill the Quarterback
Get a free digital copy of Jim Stovall's mystery novel, Kill the Quarterback. You will also get Jim's newsletter and advanced notice of publications, free downloads and a variety of information about what he is working on. Jim likes to stay in touch, so sign up today.