New York University Leads Team Of Researchers In Finding 38,000 Year-Old Limestone Engraving


A team of anthropologists, led by Randall White of New York University, were able to uncover a 38,000-year-old limestone engraving. It was found in Vézère Valley in France.

According to Patch, White believes that the discovery is able to shed new light on regional patterning of art and ornamentation across Europe. What's interesting is that this happened at a time when the first humans to enter the continent dispersed westward and northward.

The limestone engraving was found in a rock shelter in Vézère Valley. This has become one of the earliest known graphic imagery found in Western Eurasia. It can also offer insights into the nature of modern humans at the said period.

Tech Times reported that a rockshelter is a shallow opening that is the same to a cave at the base of a bluff or cliff. It is sometimes called as crepuscular cave, rockhouse, abri and a bluff shelter.

The limestone engraving was found at Abri Blanchard. It featured a complex image of a wild cow surrounded by a row of dots. It was uncovered in the early part of the 20th century, with anthropologists starting a systematic exploration of the site in 2011.

EurekAlert noted that the findings were published in the journal "Quaternary International." The discovery is believed to be from the Aurignacian culture, which lived about 43,000 to 33,000 years ago.

White believes that the Aurignacian art paves the way into the lives and minds of the people who made it. He said that art and personal ornamentation are markers of social identity at regional, group and individual levels.

White and his team have already excavated Abri Castanet, Abri Blanchard's sister site. It has been considered as one of the oldest sites in Eurasia which has artifacts that bear human symbolism. Several ancient personal ornaments such as pierced shells, pierced animal teeth, soapstone beads and ivory, limestone paintings and engravings have been discovered on these sites.

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