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Lost and found, the first find of an early human artwork
Phys.Org ^ | 03-21-2013 | Provided by Natural History Museum

Posted on 03/21/2013 2:31:27 PM PDT by Red Badger

This reindeer antler from Neschers in France is engraved with a stylised horse. It was created by early humans and found between 1830 and 1848.

A 14,000-year-old engraved reindeer antler is possibly the first piece of early human art ever found. The specimen was uncovered in the 1800s and has been in the vast collections of the Natural History Museum. Its scientific importance, and clues as to how it was made are only now being revealed, scientists report today.

Natural History Museum scientists have pieced together the antler's history. It was found between 1830 and 1848 in Neschers, France, by local village priest Jean-Baptiste Croizet. There are no known records of early human artwork finds before this time and so it is the first, or one of the first, discoveries of Stone Age portable art. Early humans and art The engraving shows part of a figure of a horse, and was made by stone age people (modern humans) towards the end of the last ice age.

Although these people were hunter-gatherers, living before agriculture and domestication of animals had begun, they were nevertheless skilled technicians and artists. In the 1800s very little was known about the early history of humans, especially the fact that our species had been around for many hundreds of thousands of years, along with relatives such as the Neanderthals. So the significance of discoveries like the Neschers antler largely went unrecognised at the time. Since the late 1800s many other carved objects, along with painted caves, have been discovered that show evidence of the art which early humans were creating. The oldest examples of representational art found so far are ivory figurines of animals and humans from early Aurignacian (Upper Palaeolithic) sites in Germany, dated at 35-40,000 years. Lost and found at the Museum The Neschers antler at the Museum is a story of lost and found.

It was acquired by the Natural History Museum (then the British Museum) in 1848 as part of a larger collection for £440, which at today's value would be about £25,500. In 1881, the Museum became independent from the British Museum and the antler was moved to the new building in South Kensington. A year later the antler was put on display and mentioned in a Museum gallery guide, but its scientific importance was not recognised. It was eventually returned to the storerooms and all but forgotten until 1989 when it was rediscovered by mammal curator Andy Currant and placed in secure storage.

Despite this, it again remained unstudied and forgotten until an audit of possible worked bone and antler in the fossil collections began in 2010-2011. This was when its scientific importance became apparent and finally, over 160 years after its discovery, a full scientific description is now being published. Museum human origins expert Prof Chris Stringer, part of the research team says, 'The remarkable story of this forgotten specimen shows how careful study and detective work can belatedly give an important relic the significance it deserves'. Scanning the antler Another study by Museum scientists using a micro-CT scanner and 3D microscopy has revealed even more about the Neschers antler. Results show evidence that the antler had been prepared before being carved.

The team could see how its creator had made an incision and then repeatedly scratched it to enlarge the engraving. They could also tell that the outline of the horse's body and head was scratched out first, and then anatomical features added afterwards. These methods of study are non-destructive and could even be used to identify one ancient artist's work from another. Museum human evolution researcher Dr Silvia Bello, lead author on both studies says, 'The use of micro 3-Dimensional technologies allows for a more objective evaluation of the metrical characteristics of an engraving, thus facilitating the quantification, rather than the mere description, of the technical procedure adopted. 'Moreover, archaeological digital data have the potential to enable the long-term conservation of an archaeological record and to share these data for cultural, educational and professional purposes.'

The Lost and found paper is published in the Journal of Antiquity and the antler 3D and micro-CT scanning is published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. More information: Lost and found paper in the Journal of Antiquity Antler art scanning paper in Journal of Archaeological Science


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: agriculture; animalhusbandry; ggg; godsgravesglyphs

1 posted on 03/21/2013 2:31:28 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping!..........


2 posted on 03/21/2013 2:31:48 PM PDT by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: Revolting cat!

Gog’s wife put it out during a yard sale. It didn’t go with the couch. Said, “this is a FAMILY cave....”


3 posted on 03/21/2013 2:34:46 PM PDT by a fool in paradise (America 2013 - STUCK ON STUPID)
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To: a fool in paradise

Could be, but more likely infant Zigzag too off with it and crawled all the way across the cave floor to hide it. Clearly it was HIS TOY ~ see the horse’s smile?


4 posted on 03/21/2013 2:38:18 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Red Badger

Very interesting


5 posted on 03/21/2013 2:39:25 PM PDT by svcw (Why is one cell on another planet considered life, and in the womb it is not.)
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To: Red Badger
I'm confused:

A 14,000-year-old engraved reindeer antler is possibly the first piece of early human art ever found.

The oldest examples of representational art found so far are ivory figurines of animals and humans from early Aurignacian (Upper Palaeolithic) sites in Germany, dated at 35-40,000 years.

6 posted on 03/21/2013 2:43:31 PM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: Zeneta

Thank you. I was going to mention something similar.


7 posted on 03/21/2013 2:45:04 PM PDT by SatinDoll (NATURAL BORN CITZEN: BORN IN THE USA OF CITIZEN PARENTS.)
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To: SatinDoll

I suppose the distinction between “found” and “discovered” should have been expressed more clearly.


8 posted on 03/21/2013 2:47:29 PM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: Zeneta

Representational art, is art that is carved in the shape of something like an animal or human. This antler is a picture of a horse, not carved into the shape of a horse......


9 posted on 03/21/2013 2:50:50 PM PDT by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: Zeneta

Well obviously if the 14,000 year old antler is the first work of early human art ever found, then the 40,000 year old ivory figurines of animals and humans weren’t made by humans.

I’m also confused. A report today said that modern DNA was 338,000 years old. but we waited until 14,000 years ago to produce art? I’m not sure that any of it has credibility.


10 posted on 03/21/2013 2:51:21 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: DannyTN

That’s just the y-chromosome, and you know what that one’s for!


11 posted on 03/21/2013 2:52:36 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Zeneta

This was found submerged in a jar of urine. That removes all doubt that it is art.


12 posted on 03/21/2013 2:52:46 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: DannyTN
I understand your confusion but I read that NBC News was involved.  photo antler_zpsc8ecb13c.jpg
13 posted on 03/21/2013 2:53:18 PM PDT by super7man
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This is something that my horse-crazy daughter would do... she’s constanly drawing horses on things.


14 posted on 03/21/2013 2:53:43 PM PDT by Rio (Tempis Fugit.)
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To: super7man

The term “NBC News” confuses me too.


15 posted on 03/21/2013 2:54:10 PM PDT by DannyTN
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To: Zeneta

It was found around 1800, before the German sites were known. Therefore it was possibly “the first piece of early human art ever found.” The comment does not refer to the age of the object.


16 posted on 03/21/2013 2:54:14 PM PDT by Bernard Marx
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To: Red Badger
There are no known records of early human artwork finds before this time and so it is the first, or one of the first, discoveries of Stone Age portable art.

So, although not know at the time, it is the "first discovery" or find.

Early humans and art The engraving shows part of a figure of a horse, and was made by stone age people (modern humans) towards the end of the last ice age.

Although these people were hunter-gatherers, living before agriculture and domestication of animals had begun, they were nevertheless skilled technicians and artists. In the 1800s very little was known about the early history of humans, especially the fact that our species had been around for many hundreds of thousands of years, along with relatives such as the Neanderthals. So the significance of discoveries like the Neschers antler largely went unrecognised at the time.,/i>

Fine

Since the late 1800s many other carved objects, along with painted caves, have been discovered that show evidence of the art which early humans were creating.

The oldest examples of representational art found so far are ivory figurines of animals and humans from early Aurignacian (Upper Palaeolithic) sites in Germany, dated at 35-40,000 years.

At the end of the day, this is very poorly written.

The article should say, and the news here is; Representational art older than pictorial art, as far as we can tell.

Or

Simply say we found some really cool old art that had been overlooked for nearly 200 years.

17 posted on 03/21/2013 3:16:27 PM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: Bernard Marx

Yes it does.

It clearly states the object is 14,000 years old.


18 posted on 03/21/2013 3:19:45 PM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: Tijeras_Slim

Your comment brings to mind something I’ve asked Sunken_civ before.

Where are all the bad artworks from the past?

Seriously, it seems that we only find stuff that actually looks decent. Not the best mind you, but at least a fair representation of the subject.

Where are all the “trail and errors” of aspiring artists?

You would think there would be more bad stuff than good.


19 posted on 03/21/2013 3:28:52 PM PDT by Zeneta (No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.)
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To: Red Badger
A 14,000-year-old engraved reindeer antler

Can they prove the engraving was done at the time the antler was shed, or could it have been added later ... say, 'long about 1800?

20 posted on 03/21/2013 3:35:16 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Now with more LOL and less UNNNGH.)
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To: Zeneta

Everybody’s a critic......


21 posted on 03/21/2013 3:35:47 PM PDT by super7man
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To: Zeneta

Being a subsistence based society, I think they would only have kept the good items and recycled the rest into bone/horn needles etc...

Very much like canvases in the Renaissance being reused.


22 posted on 03/21/2013 3:37:14 PM PDT by Tijeras_Slim
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To: Red Badger

This horse has 3-D front legs!


23 posted on 03/21/2013 3:55:17 PM PDT by bunkerhill7 ("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Marchione.)
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To: Zeneta
Third paragraph: "It was found between 1830 and 1848 in Neschers, France, by local village priest Jean-Baptiste Croizet. There are no known records of early human artwork finds before this time and so it is the first, or one of the first, discoveries of Stone Age portable art."
24 posted on 03/21/2013 4:22:50 PM PDT by Bernard Marx
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To: Red Badger

 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Thanks Red Badger.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


25 posted on 03/21/2013 5:04:35 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: Zeneta; Tijeras_Slim

It’s analogous to that line in Shakespeare — “treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason? If it prosper, none dare call it treason,” iow, it’s around but unrecognized.

Leaving aside the sheer rarity of really old artifacts made out of something other than stone, stuff that may have been considered art, or at least gayed-up toolwork, got used until it wore off, perhaps precisely because it wasn’t considered worth preserving, or wasn’t made just for decoration but instead as a sort of good luck charm on the hunt. Anything considered exceptionally nice might have been spared, or might have been extra strong mojo.

My view is, many of the oldest tools (fire, watercraft) probably came about due to the un- or semi-supervised activities of adolescents and preadolescents. In that scenario, “art” was so commonplace as to be trivial, and just as with surviving primitive cultures covered everything. And most primitive art isn’t exactly Rembrandt.

‘Oldest Sculpture’ Found In Morocco (400K Years Old)
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/916512/posts

Is this the world’s oldest statue? [Anatolia, Gobekli Tepe]
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/1930666/posts


26 posted on 03/21/2013 5:16:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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To: bunkerhill7

Don’t ALL horses?............;^)


27 posted on 03/22/2013 6:06:34 AM PDT by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: Tax-chick

I think they can.......


28 posted on 03/22/2013 6:07:03 AM PDT by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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To: Zeneta
Today's journalists are tomorrow's editors.........
29 posted on 03/22/2013 6:08:39 AM PDT by Red Badger (Lincoln freed the slaves. Obama just got them ALL back......................)
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