"Although man knows that he has lived on this planet for millions of years, he finds a recorded history of only a few thousand years. And even these few thousand years are not sufficiently well known." -- Immanuel Velikovsky, polymath, Worlds In Collision, April 1950
"As we shall see again and again, we have such a limited knowledge and practically no understanding of the worlds before our own." -- Brad Steiger, author, Worlds Before Our Own, October 1978
"If we're looking at human history, we can't see very far...." -- Isaac Asimov, author, 1988
"Going back 30,000 years requires you to speculate because we really don't have much an idea what was going on." -- David Morrison, archaeologist, February 26th 2010
New Scientist (March 2010): Oldest 'writing' found on 60,000-year-old eggshells.
COULD these lines etched into 60,000-year-old ostrich eggshells (see photo) be the earliest signs of humans using graphic art to communicate?
Until recently, the first consistent evidence of symbolic communication came from the geometric shapes that appear alongside rock art all over the world, which date to 40,000 years ago (New Scientist, 20 February, p 30). Older finds, like the 75,000-year-old engraved ochre chunks from the Blombos cave in South Africa, have mostly been one-offs and difficult to tell apart from meaningless doodles.
The engraved ostrich eggshells may change that. Since 1999, Pierre-Jean Texier of the University of Bordeaux, France, and his colleagues have uncovered 270 fragments of shell at the Diepkloof Rock Shelter in the Western Cape, South Africa.
They show the same symbols are used over and over again, and the team say there are signs that the symbols evolved over 5000 years.