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Earliest Human Artefacts?

rynner2

Gone But Not Forgotten
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For starters...

Ice Age ivory 'charm' thought to be oldest intact mammoth carving
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Published: 27 June 2007

Archaeologists have found what is believed to be the world's oldest fully intact ivory carving of a mammoth from an Ice Age site in Germany that was inhabited by the first Homo sapiens 35,000 years ago.

The tiny carving, which is only 3.7cms long, has a pointed tail, an arched trunk and powerful legs that join together at the bottom, enabling it to be hung from the neck and worn as what was almost certainly a charm. The mammoth is among a group of Ice Age figurines retrieved by the American archaeologist Nicholas Conard and his colleagues from Tübingen University in Germany. They were found in the Vogelherd cave in the south-western state of Baden-Wüerttemberg last year.

However, the discovery was only made public this month, when Mr Conard and his colleagues, Michael Lingnau and Maria Malina, reported it in a German archaeology journal.

"Our discovery shows that there has been art in this region for over 35,000 years," Mr Conard said. "The excitement and thrill at finding them was immense, they are among the oldest and most impressive examples of figurative artworks from the Ice Age." The Vogelherd cave was first excavated in 1931 by the Tübingen archaeologist Gusatav Reik, who found an initial series of primitive artefacts. In the years that followed, the carved ivory remains of wild horses, mammoths, lions and reindeer were discovered.

However, as ivory splits with age, the remains were fragmented. Mr Conard and the Tübingen team's mammoth is believed to be the only surviving Ice Age ivory carving of the animal to have been found intact.

Mr Conard and his team returned to the Vogelherd cave in 2005 and began extensive excavation work, during which 10,000 16-litre plastic bags of bones, mud, stones, loose earth and other material were removed from the site and meticulously examined.

Their discovery includes a tiny, yet well preserved lion with an outstretched neck that bears around thirty finely-etched crosses running the length of its back. The remains of other mammoths and two as yet unidentified ivory carvings were also found during the excavation.

Carbon dating suggest that the figurines belong to the Aurignacian culture, which refers to an area of southern France where important Ice Age finds have been made and which has already been linked to the arrival of the first Homo sapiens in Europe.

The Vogelherd excavation is scheduled to continue until next year. The mammoth and other figurines will be shown in 2009 at an exhibition in Stuttgart, entitled Cultures and Art of the Ice Age.

http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article2714179.ece
 
You wonder what makes a species suddenly start creating art, but then I guess it's our instinct towards abstract systems that allows civilisation and societies to develop...

On topic though, there are, of course, the reports of artifacts from much, much earlier - millions or billions of years. Have any of those got any credence whatsoever?
 
That may be the oldest carved ivory, but there are much older artefacts:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4526264.stm

New research shows early humans were living in Britain around 700,000 years ago, substantially earlier than had previously been thought.

Using new dating techniques, scientists found that flint tools unearthed in Pakefield, Suffolk, were 200,000 years older than the previous oldest finds.

Humans were known to have lived in southern Europe 780,000 years ago but it was unclear when they moved north.

The findings have been published in the scientific journal Nature.

A team of researchers from the UK, Italy and Canada found a total of 32 flint tools in a fossil-rich seam at Pakefield. They say it represents the earliest unequivocal evidence of human activity in northern Europe.
 
Mattattattatt said:
...there are, of course, the reports of artifacts from much, much earlier - millions or billions of years. Have any of those got any credence whatsoever?
Not as far as I know. Do you have any particular examples in mind?
 
Ronson8 said:
Mattattattatt said:
On topic though, there are, of course, the reports of artifacts from much, much earlier - millions or billions of years. Have any of those got any credence whatsoever?
I guess you mean this stuff! :roll:
http://www.s8int.com/page8.html
:roll: indeed!

This is a creationist website - see, eg:
http://www.s8int.com/dna1.html

There are many stories about anomalous OOPARTS, but either they are insufficiently documented - or else they are part of Fort's Damned Data! :shock:
 
I note that a lot of these Ooparts were found in coal; it can be quite easy to press metal objects into a soft rock like coal, then fortuitously 'discover' them later.
A lot of the objects were found by miners back in the nineteenth century- there seems to have been quite a fashion for them back then.
 
OOPArts indeed.

The ones from c 100,000 bc interest me... after all Homo Sapiens have (we reckon) been about for twice that. When you look at how civilisations in area such as Egypt have crumbled into the desert, it's not hard to imagine that there was something much earlier that we have no record of. After all, diverse populations have developed farming, language and written systems independently... it's almost ridiculous to suggest that there was a sudden social or even physical evolutionary step that affected many groups within a couple of thousands of years. There must have been the potential for this to happen earlier, and maybe it only did to a level that was isolated and easily buried.

Unless that is there is some kind of cumulative process that happens as a species... call it race or inherited memory... That we can pass on the acquired re-wiring of our brains to our children... Maybe why we'd notice (claimed) phenomenon like the Indigo Children thing where the next generation is that bit better prepared for the modern world... Going o/t there :)
 
Let's not forget the strung sea shell necklaces from circa 85,000 BC.

And that may not have been the high point of the artistic vision of that period, for people still string sea shell necklaces today.

And still sell sea shells by the sea shore.
 
The Long Road to Modernity
By Michael Balter
ScienceNOW Daily News
1 December 2008
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/co ... 008/1201/1

Most experts agree that Homo sapiens arose in Africa about 200,000 years ago and had more brainpower than earlier hominid species. But it's a matter of debate whether modern humans got smarter in one big cognitive leap or gradually developed their greater intelligence. New dating of an important hominid site in Ethiopia suggests that the road to advanced cognition was long and winding.
Anthropologists and archaeologists rely on stone tools and other artifacts to gauge the sophistication of ancient humans. About 1.7 million years ago in Africa, Homo erectus, an ancestor of modern humans, started using large hand axes and cleavers. This know-how spread to Asia and Europe and remained cutting-edge technology for well over a million years. Eventually, however, it gave way to the Middle Stone Age, which featured smaller and more sophisticated blades and spearheads.

Many researchers have assumed that these weapons and tools were made by modern humans, because nearly all of them have been found at sites dated later than 195,000 years ago, the age of the oldest known H. sapiens fossils. That would imply a big cognitive leap on the part of modern humans, as they would have essentially developed a complex technology as soon as they arrived on the scene.

But not all evidence jibes with this theory. In the 1990s, for example, archaeologists dated a Middle Stone Age site in Ethiopia called Gademotta to 235,000 years ago--implying that the technology had been maturing for a while before the arrival of modern humans--although the accuracy of that dating has been questioned. A second site, Kapthurin in Kenya, was more reliably dated in 2002 to 285,000 years ago, but researchers have been very reluctant to accept just one site as evidence that the Middle Stone Age started so early. Both sites are in Africa's volcanic Rift Valley, the birthplace of many hominid species.

Now two geochronologists from the University of California, Berkeley, Leah Morgan and Paul Renne, have redated Gademotta using the argon-argon method, an improved technique for dating volcanic rock that is considered more accurate than the potassium-argon method previously employed at the site. The new results, reported in this month's issue of Geology, push the artifacts at Gademotta back to at least 280,000 years ago, essentially the same age as those at Kapthurin.

Morgan and Renne suggest that the early dates at both Gademotta and Kapthurin indicate that the tools were probably not invented by modern humans but rather by ancestral hominids intermediate between H. erectus and H. sapiens. A few fossils that might represent such ancestors have been found in Africa over the past decades and are thought to be between 400,000 and 200,000 years old.

Sally McBrearty, an anthropologist at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, and a leader of the excavations at Kapthurin, says that the new Gademotta dates provide "solid confirmation" of the early appearance of Middle Stone Age technology. And Christian Tryon, an anthropologist at New York University, says that the "major behavioral changes" represented by the early invention of these sophisticated tools may have even helped stimulate the advances in cognition that would become the hallmark of modern humans.




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The editors suggest the following Related Resources on Science sites:
In Science Magazine
NEWS FOCUS
BECOMING HUMAN:
What Made Humans Modern?
Michael Balter (15 February 2002)
Science 295 (5558), 1219. [DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5558.1219]

| Summary »
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/s ... /5558/1219

| Full Text »
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/f ... /5558/1219

| PDF »
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/s ... 8/1219.pdf
 
Ice age lion figurine: Ancient fragment of ivory belonging to 40,000 year old animal figurine unearthed

The fragment on the left makes up half the head of the animal figure on the right, showing that the “lion” was fully three-dimensional, and not a relief as long thought.
Credit: Hilde Jensen, Universität Tübingen

Archaeologists from the University of Tübingen have found an ancient fragment of ivory belonging to a 40,000 year old animal figurine. Both pieces were found in the Vogelherd Cave in southwestern Germany, which has yielded a number of remarkable works of art dating to the Ice Age. The mammoth ivory figurine depicting a lion was discovered during excavations in 1931. The new fragment makes up one side of the figurine's head, and the sculpture may be viewed at the Tübingen University Museum from 30 July.

"The figurine depicts a lion," says Professor Nicholas Conard of Tübingen University's Institute of Prehistory and Medieval Archaeology, and the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment Tübingen. "It is one of the most famous Ice Age works of art, and until now, we thought it was a relief, unique among these finds dating to the dawn of figurative art. The reconstructed figurine clearly is a three dimensional sculpture." ...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 093833.htm
 
Zig-zag patterns found on a fossilised shell in Indonesia may be the earliest engraving by a human ancestor, a study has claimed. The engraving is at least 430,000 years old, meaning it was done by the long-extinct Homo erectus, said the study.

The oldest man-made markings previously found were about 130,000 years old.

If confirmed, experts say the findings published in the journal Nature may force a rethink of how human culture developed.

One of the report's authors, Stephen Munro, told the BBC it could "rewrite human history".

"This is the first time we have found evidence for Homo erectus behaving this way," said the researcher, from Australian National University. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30324599
 
Earliest phallic art

  • 16 JUN 2023 2:50 PM
  • a phallic-shaped stone pendant
    Scientists behind a new study say this bit of graphite was carved to resemble a penis.SOLANGE RIGAUD

The human predilection for phallic imagery is well documented—just look at the scrawling in any high school locker room. A pendant recently found in northern Mongolia suggests our species has been artistically recreating the penis for at least 42,000 years. According to researchers behind a study of the pendant, published this week in Nature Scientific Reports, the 4.3-centimeter piece of carved graphite is the “earliest-known sexed anthropomorphic representation.”

If so, the pendant would predate cave art at Grotte Chauvet in France that depicts vulvas and dates back 32,000 years. It would even edge out the Venus of Hohle Fels statue found in southwestern Germany that may be as old as 40,000 years. But not everyone is convinced that the Mongolian pendant represents a phallus.

The pendant was unearthed in 2016 at site called Tolbor in Mongolia’s northern Khangai Mountains. Radiocarbon dating of organic material found near it puts the artifact at between 42,400 and 41,900 years old. A fragment of an ostrich eggshell pendant, ostrich eggshell beads, other stone pendants, and animal bone pieces were also found in the same sedimentary layer.

https://www.science.org/content/art...ian-pendant-may-be-earliest-known-phallic-art
 
Earliest phallic art

  • 16 JUN 2023 2:50 PM
  • a phallic-shaped stone pendant
    Scientists behind a new study say this bit of graphite was carved to resemble a penis.SOLANGE RIGAUD

The human predilection for phallic imagery is well documented—just look at the scrawling in any high school locker room. A pendant recently found in northern Mongolia suggests our species has been artistically recreating the penis for at least 42,000 years. According to researchers behind a study of the pendant, published this week in Nature Scientific Reports, the 4.3-centimeter piece of carved graphite is the “earliest-known sexed anthropomorphic representation.”

If so, the pendant would predate cave art at Grotte Chauvet in France that depicts vulvas and dates back 32,000 years. It would even edge out the Venus of Hohle Fels statue found in southwestern Germany that may be as old as 40,000 years. But not everyone is convinced that the Mongolian pendant represents a phallus.

The pendant was unearthed in 2016 at site called Tolbor in Mongolia’s northern Khangai Mountains. Radiocarbon dating of organic material found near it puts the artifact at between 42,400 and 41,900 years old. A fragment of an ostrich eggshell pendant, ostrich eggshell beads, other stone pendants, and animal bone pieces were also found in the same sedimentary layer.

https://www.science.org/content/art...ian-pendant-may-be-earliest-known-phallic-art
I'm not seeing it myself.
Unless it's modelled on one of Trev's ancestors.
 
It's a bear, it's a lion ...

Archaeologists in Germany have discovered the missing piece of an ice age carving deep in a cave. But the new addition of the ivory carving, originally thought to depict a horse, has actually complicated matters: Now, researchers aren't sure if it portrays a cave lion or a cave bear.

Researchers previously found the head of the 35,000-year-old figurine in the cave Hohle Fels in the mountainous Swabian Jura region in the southern part of the country. The cave, which translates to "hollow rock" in German, is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is well known for its Upper Paleolithic (about 50,000 to 12,000 years ago) artifacts. At the time, the carved head was the first known ivory carving from the cave.

But the newfound "body" part of the carving has thrown the equine interpretation out the window. "We still cannot identify the animal species depicted with certainty," Nicholas Conard, a professor in the Department of Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology at the University of Tübingen in Germany, said at the "Find of the Year" news conference on July 27, according to a translated statement.

We see the other side of the animal figure. It is brown against a black background.


Is it a cave lion or a cave bear? As seen from the front right. (Image credit: Ria Litzenberg/University of Tubingen)

The carving likely depicts a bear, he said. "The figurine now has a massive body, shows the typical pronounced bear hump at shoulder height and presents itself in a posture that could imitate the trotting gait of a bear," Conard noted.

But the carving also has similar anatomical features to a cave lion, which lived in Eurasia at the time. "It is by no means always easy to reliably identify Ice Age depictions, especially when they have been preserved in such fragmentary form," Conard said.

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...lly-found-but-nobody-knows-what-the-animal-is
 
I did get to see the Lion Man figurine, when it came to the British Museum in 2017. Fantastic bit of work. Obviously, therianthropomorphy (animal heads on human bodies) was a thing even back then.
Lion-Man-750x1345.jpg


40,000 years is a long time ago, and it must have been made (from a mammoth tusk) by the Aurignacian peoples, an early group of Modern Humans who were living in Southern Europe during the last ice age. Presumably they had a rich artistic culture - I can't imagine this being the product of a single, lone genius. Before the Aurignacians in Europe were the Mousterians, who were Neanderthals.
 
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Stingray sand 'sculpture' in South Africa may be oldest example of humans creating an image of another creature​



Stingray sand 'sculpture' in South Africa may be oldest example of humans creating an image of another creature
(a) The upper surface and (b) the lower surface of the purported sand sculpture; scale bars are in cm. Credit: https://rockartresearch.com/index.php/rock/article/view/272/268

South Africa's Cape south coast offers many hints about how our human ancestors lived some 35,000 to 400,000 years ago during the Pleistocene epoch. These clues are captured in the dunes they once traversed, today cemented and preserved in a rock type known as aeolianite.

Our research team has been studying this area since 2008. We've described the fossilized tracks of large Pleistocene animals such as lion, rhinoceros, elephant, giant buffalo and crocodiles, as well as footprints left by hominins.

Then, in 2018, one of our "citizen scientist" supporters, Emily Brink, spotted an intriguing rock east of Still Bay, about 330km east of Cape Town. The rock was unusually symmetrical and was shaped uncannily like a stingray, minus the tail.

After careful study of the rock, we have published an academic article in the journal Rock Art Research in which we posit that it represents a sand-sculpture of a blue stingray (Dasyatis chrysonata). We believe that the sculpture might have begun with tracing a specimen in the sand.
Why do we use words like "posit" and "believe," rather than being more confident and assertive? Firstly, we cannot prove our interpretation, and others cannot falsify it. It therefore represents speculation—although it is highly informed speculation based on our understanding of many tens of thousands of such rocks. Secondly, ancient palaeoart is rare in the archaeological record, and may be harder to recognize than more recent art: we really don't know how much we don't know.

However, if our interpretation is correct, there are a number of implications:
  • making sand sculptures or "sand castles," as many of our children love to do on dunes and beaches today, is an activity that dates back at least to the Middle Stone Age, around 130,000 years ago
  • this would be the oldest known example of humans creating an image of a creature other than themselves—a form of representational art
  • tracing may be a stepping stone to later emergence of representational art in caves.

Incredible symmetry​

The rock was found about 30km east of the Blombos Cave, which is renowned for its palaeoart. That includes an engraving on ochre dating back 77,000 years and a 73,000 year old drawing.

Directly dating the specimen would involve taking a large chunk out of it, thus damaging it—something we are not willing to consider. But dating of nearby rocks, using optically stimulated luminescence, suggests that it was created during the Middle Stone Age around 130,000 years ago. ...

https://phys.org/news/2024-04-stingray-sand-sculpture-south-africa.html
 
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