What Does the World’s Oldest Art Say About Us?
From 2008: Judith Thurman on visiting the Chauvet cave, in south-central France, which contains the earliest known paintings, from at least thirty-two thousand years ago.
Oldest ever engraving discovered on 500,000-year-old shell
Homo erectus on Java was already using shells of freshwater mussels as tools half a million years ago, and as a 'canvas' for an engraving. The discovery of an engraved geometrical pattern on one of the shells came as a total surprise. The zig zag pattern, that can only be seen with oblique lighting, is clearly older than the weathering processes on the shell arising from fossilization.