Today was an odd day of researching for my humble art blog.
What started off as exploring what was the oldest known piece of art created by man, turned into.. well… what are the earliest known painting / drawing techniques. This was literally the most fascinating research journey I have undertaken. To be honest with you, there are hundreds of articles wafting about the internet claiming to have found ‘the earliest known piece of art’.
Whilst our advancing technologies in the archeology department can confirm the approximate date of when these cave paintings were made, let’s just say, unless you were there, its speculation and quantified guesses.
But one thing became bleedingly obvious, our Neanderthal ancestors with their primitive brains, used the same old drawing techniques that we used. Some of these include zig zag, cross hatch and stippling (but are not limited to because who am I to say? I’m sure there is another unfound cave hiding another ancient painting out there just waiting for our beady little eyes to assess)
Yes my friend, these Neanderthals, whilst they might not have yet discovered the Apple iPhone, identified their own group of ‘superfoods’ or experienced the luxury of shopping with the click of a button from the comfort of their cave, had, in fact discovered drawing techniques that we still use today.
So, without further delay, I present to you...
6 OLDEST DRAWING TECHNIQUES KNOWN TO MANKIND.
1. STENCILING The Sulawesi cave art found in Sulawesi, Indonesia, used hand stenciling dating back to at least 37,900 BC.
2. ROCK ART This Neanderthal cave, situated in southwest France, is famous for “cupule,” a primitive form of rock art that existed on the populated continent and was practiced around the three eras of the Stone Age. It is one of the oldest prehistoric forms of art in Europe. The extinction of Neanderthal man around 40,000 BC suggests that this art can be dated back to between 70,000 and 40,000 BC.
3. CROSS HATCHING “This is first known drawing in human history,” said Francesco d’Errico, a researcher on the team at the University of Bordeaux, which interestingly also shows us the first evidence of cross hatching used in art. After 7 years of rigorous testing, archeologists claim this cross hatched piece of art was created with an orchre crayon about 73,000 years ago. Let's assume that crayon was made from natural raw materials and perhaps not a spare crayon from the old Crayola box?
4. STIPLING Discovered in Diepkloof Rock Shelter in Western Cape, South Africa, the Diepkloof eggshell engravings are another set of marvelous cave engravings dating to approximately 60,000 BC. They were found carved onto an ostrich eggshell using abstract art techniques such as crosshatching and geometric motifs.
- I'd just like to add a side note, I did consider adding in our beautiful indigenous Australian art as the earliest known stipling / dot techniques, however the example here in this blog is older than what I had researched so far. I also believe that Aboriginal Cutlure, being native to my country, deserves it's own blog post in it's own right to truly highlight their rich artistic culture. So, please, watch this space, because, I will be doing a blog article on Indigenous Art. xo
5. ZIG ZAG We have been zigging and zagging for roughly about 77000 years. The earliest known patterns were found on an ochre block from the Blombos caves, South Africa (Henshilwood et al. 2002).
6. OUTLINE DRAWINGS Our 2021 trend of minimalist line drawings are nothing new because our prehistoric friends were on point with the art technique. This outlined drawing is the earliest known line drawing and dates back to around 15000 - 16000 BP. (Huyge & Claes, 2008).
In conclusion, If Neanderthals could draw, so can you. Art really is about observing the world around us and expressing that view through creative expression - no matter your skills set, or should I rather say you tool kit! Because although we can not 100% be sure of when these were made down to the day, what I could speculate with absolute certainty, they did not have the latest Daler-Rowney cold cotton press watercolour paper or the latest set of Derwents.
So if you want to learn how to draw, without the fuss, just skip on over to my Drawing guide book HERE . It will show you in the easiest step by step format how to draw beautoful flowers. Its so easy you could learn to draw with your eyes shut!
Ambrose SH. Chronology of the Later Stone Age and food production in East Africa. J Archaeol Sci. 1998;25:377–392. [Google Scholar]
Aujoulat N. The Splendour of Lascaux. London: Thames & Hudson; 2005. [Google Scholar]
Baal-Teshuva J. Mark Rothko. Köln: TASHEN GmbH; 2003. [Google Scholar]
Bar-Yosef O. The upper paleolithic revolution. Annu Rev Anthropol. 2002;31:363–393. [Google Scholar]
Bednarik RG. A figurine from the African Acheulian. Curr Anthropol. 2003a;44:405–413. [Google Scholar]
Bednarik RG. The earliest evidence of palaeoart. Rock Art Res. 2003b;20:89–135. [Google Scholar]
Bermúdez de Castro JM, Arsuaga JL, Carbonell E, et al. A hominid from the Lower Pleistocene of Atapuerca, Spain: possible ancestor to Neanderthals and modern humans. Science. 1997;276:1392–1395. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Bermúdez de Castro JM, Martinón-Torres M, Sarmiento S, et al. Gran Dolina-TD6 versus Sima de los Huesos dental samples from Atapuerca: evidence of discontinuity in the European Pleistocene population? J Archaeol Sci. 2003;30:1421–1428. [Google Scholar]
Bischoff JL, Williams RW, Rosenbauer RJ, et al. High-resolution U-series dates from the Sima de los Huesos hominids yields 600 ± 66 kyrs: implications for the evolution of the early Neanderthal lineage. J Archaeol Sci. 2007;34:763–770. [Google Scholar]
Carroll L. Through the Looking Glass. London: Macmillan and Co; 1872. [Google Scholar]
Clark JD, Beyene Y, WoldeGabriel G, et al. Stratigraphic, chronological and behavioural contexts of Pleistocene Homo sapiens from Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Nature. 2003;423:747–752. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Clottes J. Return to Chauvet Cave. London: Thames & Hudson; 2003. [Google Scholar]
Clottes J. Cave Art. London: Phaidon Press; 2008. [Google Scholar]
Clottes J, Lewis-Williams D. The Shamans of Prehistory. New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc; 1998. [Google Scholar]
Cohen C. La femme des origins. France: Editions Herscher; 2003. [Google Scholar]
Conard NJ, Bolus M. Radiocarbon dating the appearance of modern humans and timing of cultural innovations in Europe: new results and new challenges. J Hum Evol. 2003;44:331–371. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Cuzange M-T, Delqué-Količ E, Goslar T, et al. Radiocarbon intercomparison program for Chauvet cave. Radiocarbon. 2007;49:339–347. [Google Scholar]
Delluc B, Delluc G, Roussot A, et al. Connaître la Préhistoire en Périgord. Bordeaux: Editions Sud-Ouest; 1990. [Google Scholar]
Eliade M. Shamanism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1964. [Google Scholar]
d’Errico F, Nowell A. A new look at the Berekhat Ram figurine: implications for the origins of symbolism. Cambridge Archaeol J. 2000;10:123–167. [Google Scholar]
d’Errico F, Henshilwood C, Vanhaeren M, et al. Nassarius kraussianus shell beads from Blombos Cave: evidence for symbolic behaviour in the Middle Stone Age. J Hum Evol. 2005;48:3–24. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Feliks J. The impact of fossils on the development of visual representation. Rock Art Res. 1998;15:109–134. [Google Scholar]
Gombrich EH. The Story of Art. London: Phaidon; 1956. [Google Scholar]
Gombrich EH. Art and Illusion. New York: Pantheon Books; 1960. [Google Scholar]
Gowlett JAJ. Mental abilities of early man: a look at some hard evidence. In: Foley RA, editor. Hominid Evolution and Community Ecology. London: Academic Press; 1984. pp. 167–192. [Google Scholar]
Gowlett JAJ. The elements of design form in Acheulian bifaces: modes, modalities, rules and language. In: Goren-Inbar N, Sharon G, editors. Axe Age: Acheulian Tool-Making from Quarry to Discard. London: Equinox; 2009. pp. 203–221. [Google Scholar]
Gunz P, Bookstein FL, Mitteroecker P, et al. Early modern human diversity suggests subdivided population structure and a complex out-of-Africa scenario. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2009;106:6094–6098. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Harvati K. 100 years of Homo heidelbergensis– life and times of a controversial taxon. Mitt Ges Urgesch. 2007;16:85–94. [Google Scholar]
Haselberger H. Methods of studying ethnological art. Curr Anthropol. 1961;2:341–384. [Google Scholar]
Heinrich B. Racing the Antelope: What Animals can Teach us about Running and Life. New York: Harper Collins; 2001. [Google Scholar]
Henshilwood CS, d’Errico F, Marean CW, et al. An early bone tool industry from the Middle Stone Age at Blombos Cave, South Africa: implications for the origins of modern human behaviour, symbolism and language. J Hum Evol. 2001;41:631–678. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Hodson D. Evolution of the visual cortex and the emergence of symmetry in the Acheulean techno-complex. C. R. Palevol. 2009;8:93–97. [Google Scholar]
Huyge D. Late Palaeolithic and Epipalaeolithic rock art in Egypt: Qurta and El-Hosh. Archéo-Nil. 2009;19:109–120. [Google Scholar]
Huyge D, Claes E. ‘Ice Age’ art along the Nile. Egypt Archaeol. 2008;33:25–28. [Google Scholar]
Huyge D, Aubert M, Barnard H, et al. “Lascaux along the Nile”: Late Pleistocene Rock Art in Egypt. 2007. Antiquity 81, Project Gallery. Available at: http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/huyge/index.html.
Jacobs Z, Duller GA, Wintle AG, et al. Extending the chronology of deposits at Blombos Cave, South Africa, back to 140 ka using optical dating of single and multiple grains of quartz. J Hum Evol. 2006;51:255–273. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Koloss H-J. Traditions of African art. In: Koloss H-J, editor. Africa: Art and Culture. Munich: Prestel Verlag; 2002. pp. 8–31. [Google Scholar]
Lack D. The Life of the Robin. London: Witherby; 1943. [Google Scholar]
Layton R. The Anthropology of Art. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1991. [Google Scholar]
Layton R. Shamanism, totemism and rock art: Les Chamanes de la Prehistoire in the context of rock art research. Cambridge Archaeol J. 2000;10:169–186. [Google Scholar]
Le Quelle J-L. Rock Art in Africa: Mythology and Legend. Paris: Flammarion; 2004. [Google Scholar]
Leeming DA, Leeming MA. Encyclopaedia of Creation Myths. Oxford: Oxford Paperbacks, Oxford University Press; 1994. [Google Scholar]
Leroi-Gourhan A. Le Symbolisme des grands signes dans l’art pariétal paléolithique. Bull Soc Préhist France. 1958;55:384–398. [Google Scholar]
Leroi-Gourhan A. The archaeology of Lascaux cave. Sci Am. 1982;246:80–88. [Google Scholar]
Lewis CS. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. London: Geoffrey Bles; 1950. [Google Scholar]
Lewis-Williams D. The Mind in the Cave. London: Thames and Hudson; 2002. [Google Scholar]
Lewis-Williams JD. Consciousness, intelligence and art: a view of the West European Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition. In: Berghaus G, editor. New Perspectives on Prehistoric Art. Westport. CT/London: Praeger; 2004. pp. 11–29. [Google Scholar]
Lorblanchet M. Spitting images: replicating the spotted horses of Peche Merle. Archaeology. 1991;44:25–31. [Google Scholar]
Marshack A. A Middle Palaeolithic symbolic composition from the Golan Heights: the earliest known depictive image. Curr Anthropol. 1996;37:357–365. [Google Scholar]
Marshack A. The Berekat Ram figurine: a late Acheulian carving from the Middle East. Antiquity. 1997;71:327–337. [Google Scholar]
Masson J. Apollo 11 cave in Southwest Namibia: some observations on the site and its rock art. S Afr Archaeol Bull. 2006;61:76–89. [Google Scholar]
Midant-Reynes B. The Prehistory of Egypt: from the first Egyptians to the first Pharaohs. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 1999. [Google Scholar]
Morphy H. Becoming Art: Exploring Cross-cultural Categories. Oxford: Berg; 2007. [Google Scholar]
O’Connell JF, Allen J. Dating the colonization of Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea): a review of recent research. J Archaeol Sci. 2004;31:835–853. [Google Scholar]
Oakley K. Emergence of higher thought 3.0-0.2 Ma B.P. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B. 1981;292:205–211. [Google Scholar]
Otte M. Le Paléolithique inférieur et moyen en Europe. Paris: Armand Colin; 1996. [Google Scholar]
Pettitt P. Art and the Middle-to-Upper Palaeolithic transition in Europe: comments on the archaeological arguments for an Upper Palaeolithic antiquity of the Grotte Chauvet art. J Hum Evol. 2008;55:908–917. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Pullman P. The Subtle Knife. London: Scholastic Ltd; 1997. [Google Scholar]
Rong J. Wolf Totem. London: Penguin; 2009. [Google Scholar]
Rowling JK. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. London: Bloomsbury; 1997. [Google Scholar]
Soressi M, d’Errico F. Pigments, gravures, parures: les comportements symboliques controversies des Neanderthaliens. In: Vandermeersch B, Maureille B, editors. Les Neanderthaliens. Biologie et Cultures. Paris: Editions du CTHS; 2007. pp. 297–309. [Google Scholar]
Stout D, Toth N, Schick K, et al. Neural correlates of Early Stone Age toolmaking: technology, language and cognition in human evolution. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2008;363:1930–1949. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Wendt WE. “Art mobilier” from the Apollo 11 cave, South West Africa. S Afr Archaeol Bull. 1974;31:5–11. [Google Scholar]
Willett F. Ife. In: Koloss H-J, editor. Africa: Art and Culture. Munich: Prestel Verlag; 2002. pp. 32–40. [Google Scholar]
Winter H, Langbein L, Krawczak M, et al. Human type 1 keratin pseudogene phi hHaA has functional orthologs in the chimpanzee and gorilla: evidence for recent inactivation of the human gene after the Pan-Homo divergence. Hum Genet. 2001;108:37–42. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Zeki S. The neurology of ambiguity. In: Turner M, editor. The Artful Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2006. pp. 243–270. [Google Scholar]
Zohary D, Hopf M. Domestication of Plants in the Old World: The Origin and Spread of Cultivated Plants in West Asia, Europe and the Nile Valley. 3rd edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2000. [Google Scholar]