Oldest artist's workshop in the world discoveredhttp://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21046-oldest-artists-workshop-in-the-world-discovered.html
- 19:00 13 October 2011 by Andy Coghlan
Abalone shell after removal of quartzite grinder cobble and some
of the ochre-rich deposit (Image: Science)
Art or body art?
The entrance of Blombos cave on the coast of the Indian Ocean
(Image: Magnus Haaland)
An abalone shell before excavation, with an ochre-coloured grindstone
on the shell lip (Image: Science/AAAS)
Abalone shell after removal of quartzite grindstone; the red deposit is the
ochre-rich mixture that was in the shell and preserved
under the cobble grinder (Image: Grethe Moell Pedersen)
These early Africans were genuinely precocious. They were already not only gathering deep-sea shellfish and presumably using dugout canoes and rafts, they were fashioning such devices as bone harpoon heads, fishhooks and fish gorges. They were starting to wear jewelry made out of seashells strung on strings. They were already starting to do actual mining of the red ochre and constructing circular structure-footings in caves (we do not know what materials were used for the structures above the footings, but the footings look like hut foundations). There is some indication they were already moving out of Africa and some of the populations were already breaking up into the streal that would become South Asians, Australians and Pacific Islanders on the one hand, and Europeans, North-Asians and American Natives on the other. Furthermore there is some evidence for their grinding plant foods on stone grinders, implying that they may already have started regularly growing basic crops such as roots (Yams) of various kinds; and there is evidence from DNA of domesticated dogs that they may have already domesticated dogs in Africa at this time. Therefore it is probable that the first migrants out of Africa could already have had knowledge of such things, and that when the Australian Aboriginals made the crossing over to Australia on rafts and dugouts, it was with technology that had already been developed in Africa at the beginnings of modern humans. This cultural level in general only reached Europe much later, after 40000 years ago, but there is some evidence of an attempted entry into Europe about 100000 years ago, only it was rebuffed by the Neanderthals then in possession of the continent.
Best Wishes, Dale D.