A reindeer engraved on the wall of a cave in south Wales has been confirmed as the oldest known rock art in Britain.
The image in Cathole Cave on Gower, south Wales was created at least 14,000 years ago, said Bristol University. Archaeologist Dr George Nash found the engraving while exploring a rear section of the cave in September 2010.
He said uranium dating showed it was the oldest rock art in the British Isles, if not north-western Europe.
The reindeer was engraved over a mineral deposit known as a speleothem, carved using a sharp-pointed tool, probably made of flint, by an artist using his or her right hand.
The animal’s elongated torso has been infilled with irregular-spaced vertical and diagonal lines, whilst the legs and stylised antlers comprise simple lines. Read more.
A colorful pebble bearing a sequence of linear incisions may be the world’s oldest engraving.
The object, which will be described in the April issue of the Journal of Archaeology, dates back approximately 100,000 years ago and could also be the world’s oldest known abstract art. It was recovered from Klasies River Cave in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
Associated human remains indicate that the engraved piece was certainly made by Homo sapiens,” co-author Riaan Rifkin of the University of Witwatersrand’s Institute for Human Evolution told Discovery News.
Rifkin and colleagues Francesco d’Errico and Renata Garcia Moreno performed extensive non-invasive analyses of the object. Methods like X-ray fluorescence and microscopic analysis enabled the researchers to examine every minute detail of the ochre pebble, which appears to have split off from a once larger piece. Read more.
Archaeologists have discovered mysterious stone carvings at an excavation site in Jerusalem. The carvings - which were engraved thousands of years ago - have baffled experts.
Israeli archaeologists excavating in the oldest part of the city discovered a complex of rooms with three “V” shapes carved into the floor. Yet there were no other clues as to their purpose and nothing to identity the people who made them.
Some experts believe the markings were made at least 2,800 years ago and may have helped hold up some kind of wooden structure. Others say an ancient people may have held ritual functions there.
The purpose of the complex is another aspect of the mystery.
There are straight lines on the walls and floors - something archaeologists see as evidence of careful engineering. Read more.
Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world’s earliest surviving Christian inscription, shedding light on an ancient sect that followed the teachings of a second-century philosopher named Valentinus.
Officially called NCE 156, the inscription is written in Greek and is dated to the latter half of the second century, a time when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power.
An inscription is an artifact containing writing that is carved on stone. The only other written Christian remains that survive from that time period are fragments of papyri that quote part of the gospels and are written in ink. Stone inscriptions are more durable than papyri and are easier to display. NCE 156 also doesn’t quote the gospels directly, instead its inscription alludes to Christian beliefs. Read more.