Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

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Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby weakmagneto on April 15th, 2012, 10:27 pm 

I came across these eye opening discoveries. I thought I would ask if anyone has heard of any updates relating to the Spain find which they considered the artwork to be of Neanderthal origin? The paintings are supposed to be over 42,000 years old.

World's Oldest Work Of Art Found In Spain (VIDEO)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/0 ... 63822.html

In this link, they believe they have found the oldest petroglyph in the New World dating between 9 - 12,000 years old:
Rock Art at the Pleistocene/Holocene Boundary in Eastern South America
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ad ... ne.0032228

Oldest New World Cave Art Discovered
A figure engraved in the bedrock of a Brazilian cave dates back at least 10,000 years. Cynthia Graber reports
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podca ... e-12-02-27
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby BadgerJelly on April 16th, 2012, 3:18 am 

What makes you think Neanderthals?
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby Watson on April 16th, 2012, 5:49 am 

A recently discovered painting in Spanish caves in Costa Del Sol was found by scientists to be approximately 42,000 years old, making it the oldest artwork ever. What is more, this artwork is also the first known painting by Neanderthals, not homo sapiens.


Just sayin'
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby Forest_Dump on April 16th, 2012, 5:59 am 

Studies on rock art can be very frustrating. Aside from guesses on what they mean, which can be very difficult because many people seem to forget the way people viewed the world etc., have changed so much and even relatively recent interviews with rack art artists in Australia and Africa result in very different answers. Not to mention that rock art may be very old but some people still pay homage to it even though in very different ways (think what some modern people do and say about places like Stonehenge even though they know virtually nothing about life, culture or beliefs from when Stonehenge was built and in first use). So it is very dangerous to assume we can "know" what they were thinking, there are huge problems with dating them. Rarely can you directly date paintings because there is usually little or nothing in the paint that can be used to directly obtain an age. For example, charcoal might have been used to provide black colour but there is no a priori reason why people couldn't have used old charcoal particularly in a cave where the charcoal might have been preserved for thousands of years or more (as it often is still present and charcoal from thousands of years ago could still be used today). But sometimes you get lucky. So the pictograph (the rock art pecked into a surface) from South America sounds promising because it is buried under intact stratigraphic horizons.

I didn't chase down the rock art from Spain story but some cave sites can be loosely dating by when their openings were inundated by rising water from glacial melt and the rising ocean levels. There is no reason why, based on what we know of them, that Neanderthals couldn't have made rock art. Associating rock art and stone tools with Neanderthal vs. anatomically modern Ho. sapiens is very tricky for the same reasons (you don't find definitive fossils holding a "smoking gun" as it were). However, if you have even a loose idea of when the rock art was made, sometimes you get lucky. Southern Spain was one of those areas where Neanderthals survived the longest and amHs arrived latest so if the dates for the cave art are reasonably sound at before the arrival of modern humans, then it is quite possible the association with humans will hold up. But all the nebulous evidence for what rock art means and when it was made and by whom makes it constant fodder for all kinds of different interpretations, etc.
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby BadgerJelly on April 16th, 2012, 6:44 am 

I agree with Forrest Dump

We can speculate but we have to look at the data or next thing you know someone will be syaing aliens flew down from he heavens to make some graffiti.

If they find paintings that can be dated back BEFORE any reasonably possible existence of homo-sapiens then I would be willing to believe that they did paint these images. Until then I will not believe it but it is certainly worth the speculation considering they could make tools ... but again could they? Can we date tools? (Obviously this is the opposite end of speculation IMO) Orangutan's can mimic human behaviour but can they develop beyond it or develop it independently?

A difference with Megalithic sites is that we are the same species with the same physiology so we can speculate in a much better manner what a human done and why than we can what a Neanderthal man done and why. We can see that many early sites made by mam relate to nature and the seasons and we can see the importance for this for communities to survive and know that this could not be achieved without cooperation and understanding.

Could Neanderthal speak? What do we know about their brain capacity? Size of frontal lobe? This are the clues we have to work with to form a basic idea to speculate and investigate ideas.

Looking at other animals what about how birds build nests? How much is nature and how much is nurture? Stepping outside the archaeological evidence can help us draw some more probable conclusions and many look for evidence in new areas.
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby Forest_Dump on April 16th, 2012, 7:11 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:Until then I will not believe it but it is certainly worth the speculation considering they could make tools ... but again could they? Can we date tools?


First, yes, neanderthals and other archaic Homo sapiens definitely made tools as did other species for millions of years prior. And Neanderthals did have a slightly larger average cranial capacity than we do, not that that necessarily means all that much. But we do know they made tools and it appears they might have even copied from amHs in places. In the past archaeologists tried to associate different tool technologies with different species but it now appears that was too much based on speculation and the differences between Neanderthals and us might have been exaggerated.

There are a number of methods of dating tools based on the context they are found in which include both vertical (i.e., stratigraphic) placement and context (e.g., found in a house or a pit). This is why archaeologists get so bent out of shape when amateurs go out to dig up or even collect from archaeological sites - they ruin the context of association (i.e., just because you know how to use a knife, that doesn't mean you will be able to do brain surgery). This is a bit of an aside because I did spend some time this weekend hearing about a couple of shows in the US on "Diggers" where some wrestler appears to have a show now where he goes out and digs up artifacts for selling and, of course, wrecks archaeological sites and turns artifacts that could tell us things into just more funny shaped rocks and other junk.
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby BadgerJelly on April 16th, 2012, 12:33 pm 

That's SERIOUSLY F'ed up!!

How is that legal? Its like getting hold of every copy of a particular book and obliterating it from the records. Maybe not on the scale of the Chinese or the burning by Christianity but it is still the same thing. How can anyone who cares about history knowingly do such a thing? Does he know more to the point?

Shouldn't be aired no more than rape or murder should IMO.
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby Watson on April 16th, 2012, 1:26 pm 

That's nothing. Well it is something, just not the worst it can be.

EXPLAINING THE DESTRUCTION: Taliban leaders decided to destroy artwork after a delegation visited and offered money to help protect the giant Buddhas. "They said, `If you are destroying our future with economic sanctions, you can't care about our heritage.' And so they decided that these statues must be destroyed. The Taliban's Supreme Court confirmed the edict.


http://www.artsjournal.com/issues/Taliban.htm
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby BadgerJelly on April 16th, 2012, 1:56 pm 

For the Middle East and Western world the destruction of the Library of Alexandria by the Church and Warring Muslims was the worst :(
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby weakmagneto on April 18th, 2012, 1:39 pm 

Thanks FD for the enlightening information. That's why I love these forums, there are people here that are more than willing to contribute to your learning experience! Thanks! :)
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Re: Oldest Artwork: Spain (Neanderthals?) and the Americas

Postby weakmagneto on April 20th, 2012, 9:39 pm 

Forest_Dump wrote: This is why archaeologists get so bent out of shape when amateurs go out to dig up or even collect from archaeological sites - they ruin the context of association (i.e., just because you know how to use a knife, that doesn't mean you will be able to do brain surgery). This is a bit of an aside because I did spend some time this weekend hearing about a couple of shows in the US on "Diggers" where some wrestler appears to have a show now where he goes out and digs up artifacts for selling and, of course, wrecks archaeological sites and turns artifacts that could tell us things into just more funny shaped rocks and other junk.


This may be a little off topic but I just read this article about the "Diggers" tv program and the concerns raised by archaeologists so I thought I would post it:

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-a ... df92e.html
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