Discovered: World’s Oldest Known Drawing

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The art of drawing is, of course, one of the most powerful and revered forms of expression. The perfect way to show off an image or a concept that we couldn’t otherwise, drawing is a supremely powerful form of art. However, it’s an art-form that we have known about and used for millennia; we just didn’t know how many. That is all about to change, though, with the discovery of the oldest known drawing to man found recently in South Africa.

It was found on a small rock fragment in South Africa, and was dated to be something in the region of 73,000 years old. It’s go some very impressive cross-hatch lines drawn into the rock, using a red pigment to make sur it stands out from the natural stone. It was found in the Blombos Cave, on the southern coast of the nation.

If you want to get all millennial about it, it kind of looks like a hash-tag. It’s quite a cool and interesting little image to find, though, and definitely stands out as a very interesting piece of artistic discovery.

While we’ve previously found engravings which date back even further, this is the first drawing we’ve found of this particular kind. It was drawn using what is known as an ochre crayon to try and etch its own design onto the stone.

“Some Meaning”

According to the archaeologist involved in the finding, Christopher Henshilwood, he said when speaking to Reuters that: "The abrupt termination of all lines on the fragment edges indicates that the pattern originally extended over a larger surface,"

However, Henshilwood, who works at the University of Bergen, Norway, as well as the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, did say that while he was “hesitant to call it art”, it did have “some meaning to the maker”.

Indeed, this part of the world – Blombos Cave – appears to be a cradle for such findings, with items found like old beads, old ochre fragments and even some paint-making kits that were over 100,000 years old.

Indeed, modern man was expected to have appeared around 315,000 years ago – so it only took us about 250,000 years to start drawing!

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