World’s Earliest rock art in Africa?

One of the remarkable stories featured in National Geographic Magazine’s First Artists story this month is the story of the Blombos Stones discovered at the Blombos Cave on the Cape Coast, South Africa, in the year 2000, by Professor Chris Henshilwood (University of Bergen). During an excavation Henshilwood discovered pieces of Ochre with abstract markings (cross-hatching) in association with shell beads which had been a necklace and these were dated to around 75000 years of age. Although nobody can tell the meaning of these markings they are undoubtedly evidence of abstract thought and symbolic behavior. David Coulson has met Henshilwood who lent TARA an image of one of the ochres which are now in show in Cape Town at the South African Museum. Interestingly, 75000 years is the date often given for the first major emigration of Homo sapiens to the Middle East and thence to, Europe, the Far East and to Australia.