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Anthropologists Discover 38,000 Year-Old Engraving On A Limestone Slab

28 January 2017, 6:43 am EST By Andrew Norman Tech Times
An international team of anthropologists has uncovered a 38,000-year-old engraved image, above, in a southwestern French rockshelter—a finding that marks some of the earliest known graphic imagery found in Western Eurasia and offers insights into the nature of modern humans during this period. The limestone slab engraved with image of an aurochs, or extinct wild cow, was discovered at Abri Blanchard in 201  ( Musée national de Préhistoire collections - photo MNP - Ph. Jugie )

A team of international anthropologists got hold of an engraved image that dates back to almost 38,000 years.

The remarkable discovery was made in a rockshelter located in the southwest of France. This will help is assessing nature of human beings dwelling in that period. A rockshelter is a shallow opening quite similar to a cave at the base of a bluff or cliff. Sometimes it is also referred as crepuscular cave, rockhouse, abri and a bluff shelter.

This engraving is one of the oldest hand etched pictures found in Western Eurasia. Engraving is a practice of decorating a hard and flat surface by cutting grooves into it.

"The discovery sheds new light on regional patterning of art and ornamentation across Europe at a time when the first modern humans to enter Europe dispersed westward and northward across the continent," says Randall White an anthropologist from New York University, who was also the leader of the team that conducted the excavation work in Vézère Valley, France.

Reports suggest that the study sheds light on Aurignacian culture prevalent among modern humans who lived nearly 43,000 to 33,000 years ago.

The Excavation And Discovery

The engraving found at site Abri Blanchard, bears a complex image of a wild cow with a surrounding row of dots and was discovered in the early part of the twentieth century. The anthropologists started a systematic exploration of the site in 2011 and got hold of the remaining deposits in 2012.

The limestone slab bearing an image (Aurignacian art) of aurochs will throw light on the society of that era. Through this art, researchers can gauge the lives and mind of the people who lived in that era.

White added that after the groups left Africa, several modern humans started to settle in the central and western part of Europe, depicting a huge similarity in graphic expression, which makes the regional characteristics stand out. 

White also says that the pattern fits really well in social geographical models where art and personal ornamentation are representative of the identity of social regional groups and also individuals.

Abri Castanet the sister site of Abri Blanchard was earlier excavated by White and his team and has been considered one of the oldest site in Eurasia that contains artifacts bearing human symbolism.

Many ancient personal ornaments, pierced shells, pierced animal teeth, soapstone beads and ivory, painting on a limestone slabs, engravings and more have been discovered from these sites. 

The findings of the study have been published in a journal named Quaternary International

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