Art 350,000 years ago.

From: Glenn Morton (glennmorton@entouch.net)
Date: Sat Jun 28 2003 - 23:00:51 EDT

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    A couple of weeks ago, I went to a business seminar at the Broad Graduate
    School of Business at Mich. State. While I was there I got one afternoon to
    go to the library to begin catching up on 3 years worth of missed
    anthropology reading. One article in particular caught my eye. It contained
    a report of the continued collection of red ochre, and manganese dioxide,
    at Twin Rivers, Zambia. These minerals, producing red and black coloring
    respectively, were found in cave deposits where they do not occur
    naturally. These minerals had to be brought to the site. Along with the
    paints were found lots of stone tools as well. Below are some quotes from
    the article. The implications of these data will be discussed after that.

    žFlowstone near the top of F Block produced a mass spectrometric
    uranium-series date of 195,000+/-19,000 B. P. which confirmed the Middle
    Pleistocene age of the site based on a previous conventional urianium-series
    date of 230,000 +/- 35,000/28,000 B. P. (Barham and Smart, 1996). The
    artifacts recovered from the excavation of both A and F Blocks have since
    been attributed to the lower Lupenban industry of the early Middle Stone Age
    of Central Africa (Clark and Brown, 1996). In 1996, during cleaning of the F
    Block sections, a single piece of limonite was recovered from beneath a
    basal flowstone layer. In A Block three pieces of hematite were found in the
    section in 1996 beneath a band of speleothem dated to > 350,000 B. P.
    (Barham 1998:704).Ó Lawrence A. Barham, žSystematic Pigment Use in the
    Middle Pleistocene of South-Central Africa,Ó Current Anthropology,
    43(2002):1:181-190, p. 182.
    **
            žOne hundred eighty pieces of hematite, specularite,
    limonite, ferruginous
    sandstone, and manganese dioxide, weighing a total of 1,404 g, were
    recovered from A Block in 1999.Ó Lawrence A. Barham, žSystematic Pigment Use
    in the Middle Pleistocene of South-Central Africa,Ó Current Anthropology,
    43(2002):1:181-190, p. 183
    **
            žOne hundred twenty-two pieces of hematite (48.4%, n-59),
    specularite (41%,
    n=50), sandstone (6.6%, n=8), limonite (3.3%, n=4) and manganese dioxide
    (0.8%, n=1), weighing a total of 213 g, were recovered from F Block.Ó
    Lawrence A. Barham, žSystematic Pigment Use in the Middle Pleistocene of
    South-Central Africa,Ó Current Anthropology, 43(2002):1:181-190, p. 183
    **
            žThe collection and processing of iron and manganese minerals were
    intentional and repeated activities under taken by Middle Pleistocene
    hominids at Twin Rivers. The sample of four speciments discovered in 1996
    has been enlarged by the recovery of an additional 302 pieces, 3.0% of the
    total showing evidence of modification by grinding or rubbing.Ó Lawrence A.
    Barham, žSystematic Pigment Use in the Middle Pleistocene of South-Central
    Africa,Ó Current Anthropology, 43(2002):1:181-190, p. 186

    Pigment use implies an ability to plan, to carry out minor mining activities
    and, Barham argues, to understand symbolism. If humans living 350,000 years
    ago were engaging in body painting, an activity carried on even today by
    modern humans (lip-stick, rouge etc), it implies that they were behaviorally
    closer to us than many Christians wish to believe.



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