Film vs Digital vs Creativity




(Isaac Ullah) #83

Yes, there are those couple of shells with zizags carved into them found in one context in Java. If I recall, the dating puts them at around 500kya, and they are stratigraphically associated with some H. erectus fossils. If they are that old, and if H. erectus are the ones that carved them, that would be pretty amazing. We would would want a preponderance of evidence before confirming that, as it is attributing some serious traits to H. erectus that would really change the narrative. H. erectus were certainly pretty smart (using fire, making Acheulean handaxes, migrating long distances, etc.), but if they had the capacity for abstract art 500,000 years ago, that would be a game changer in our understanding of human evolution. If it were attributed to later H. erectus (who persisted in SEA until perhaps 200kya, or even later [50kya if you believe that the hobbits are island dwarfed H. erectus]) then it might be more believable from the outset, especially if you are a proponent of the “multiregional hypothesis” for human evolution.

Until all that is worked out, the Blombos cave ochre still remains the oldest clear evidence of human artistic creativity.

/archaeology rant over


PS: Here’s an interesting blog post about all this by my colleague John Hawks (who does have some skin in this game, as he was part of that team that lead the recovery of the “Homo naledi” fossils from Rising Star Cave in South Africa a couple of years ago):