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Ochre Cross-hatched Silcrete Flake




”Scientists working in Blombos Cave in South Africa’s southern Cape region have made a discovery that changes our understanding of when our human ancestors started expressing themselves through drawings. They’ve found a 73,000-year-old cross-hatched drawing on a silcrete (stone) flake [Find “L13”]. It was made with an ochre crayon…

It consists of a set of six straight sub-parallel lines crossed obliquely by three slightly curved lines. One line partially overlaps the edge of a flake scar. This suggests it was made after that flake became detached. The abrupt termination of all lines on the fragment edges indicates that the pattern originally extended over a larger surface.

So the pattern was probably more complex and structured in its entirety than in this truncated form.

This has shifted our thinking about when human ancestors started drawing…

Engraved ochre slabs with various designs, including cross-hatched patterns, were also found in these older layers.”


South Africa’s Blombos cave is home to the earliest drawing by a human



Find “L13” with tracing of the drawn lines


”Here we report a cross-hatched pattern drawn with an ochre crayon on a ground silcrete flake recovered from approximately 73,000-year-old Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa…microscopic and chemical analyses of the pattern confirm that red ochre pigment was intentionally applied to the flake with an ochre crayon. The object comes from a level associated with stone tools of the Still Bay techno-complex that has previously yielded shell beads, cross-hatched engravings on ochre pieces and a variety of innovative technologies. This notable discovery pre-dates the earliest previously known abstract and figurative drawings by at least 30,000 years. This drawing demonstrates the ability of early Homo sapiens in southern Africa to produce graphic designs on various media using different techniques…”

An abstract drawing from the 73,000-year-old levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa



Dr. Troglodyte


“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?“ - Decimus Junius Juvenalis


“Numero, Pondere et Mensura“


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Subject Views Written By Posted
Blombos Cave Compositions 667 Dr. Troglodyte 14-Sep-18 15:11
Engraved Ochres 223 Dr. Troglodyte 14-Sep-18 21:40
Re: Engraved Ochres 174 Eddie Larry 15-Sep-18 03:25
Re: Engraved Ochres 129 Dr. Troglodyte 16-Sep-18 15:29
Re: Engraved Ochres 149 BrandonR149 17-Sep-18 14:34
Conclusions and Debate 233 Dr. Troglodyte 17-Sep-18 16:41


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