Emergence of Modern Human Behavior: Middle Stone Age Engravings from South Africa

  title={Emergence of Modern Human Behavior: Middle Stone Age Engravings from South Africa},
  author={Christopher S. Henshilwood and Francesco d’Errico and Royden Yates and Zenobia Jacobs and Chantal Tribolo and G. A. T. Duller and Norbert Mercier and Judith Sealy and H{\'e}l{\`e}ne Valladas and Ian Watts and Ann G. Wintle},
  pages={1278 - 1280}
In the Eurasian Upper Paleolithic after about 35,000 years ago, abstract or depictional images provide evidence for cognitive abilities considered integral to modern human behavior. Here we report on two abstract representations engraved on pieces of red ochre recovered from the Middle Stone Age layers at Blombos Cave in South Africa. A mean date of 77,000 years was obtained for the layers containing the engraved ochres by thermoluminescence dating of burnt lithics, and the stratigraphic… 
Engraved ochres from the Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave, South Africa.
Engraved bones from the archaic hominin site of Lingjing, Henan Province
Abstract The production of abstract engravings is considered an indicator of modern human cognition and a means for the long-term recording and transmission of information. This article reports the
Those marvellous millennia: the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa
  • L. Wadley
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2015
Africa's Middle Stone Age (MSA) may have lasted almost half a million years, but its earliest expression is not yet well understood. The MSA is best known for innovations that appear in the
Modernity, Enhanced Working Memory, and the Middle to Upper Paleolithic Record in the Levant
The Eurocentric (or rather Western European) outlook on cultural evolution envisioned a sharp demarcation between the phenomena grouped under the title Middle Paleolithic (i.e., archaic) and the
Ages for the Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa: Implications for Human Behavior and Dispersal
Age ages for nine sites from varied climatic and ecological zones across southern Africa show that both industries were short-lived (5000 years or less), separated by about 7000 years, and coeval with genetic estimates of population expansion and exit times.
The Emergence of Ornaments and Art: An Archaeological Perspective on the Origins of “Behavioral Modernity”
The earliest known personal ornaments come from the Middle Stone Age of southern Africa, c. 75,000 years ago, and are associated with anatomically modern humans. In Europe, such items are not
82,000-year-old shell beads from North Africa and implications for the origins of modern human behavior
Examples of perforated Nassarius gibbosulus shell beads from Grotte des Pigeons (Taforalt, Morocco), North Africa are reported on, implying an early distribution of bead-making in Africa and southwest Asia at least 40 millennia before the appearance of similar cultural manifestations in Europe.
Coastal Diet, Encephalization, and Innovative Behaviors in the Late Middle Stone Age of Southern Africa
Some 35 years ago, Desmond Clark (1975) predicted that Africa was in the process of moving from peripheral to paramount in the narrative of human evolution. Nowhere has this been more dramatically
Archaeology and the origins of modern humans: European and African perspectives
This chapter compares the archaeological evidence associated with the appearance of anatomically modern humans in Europe and Africa to assess how far these well-documented changes in the archaeological record reflect not only major shifts in behavioural patterns, but also underlying shifts in the cognitive capacities for behaviour, including increasing complexity in the structure of language.


A middle stone age worked bone industry from Katanda, Upper Semliki Valley, Zaire.
Three archaeological sites at Katanda on the Upper Semliki River in the Western Rift Valley of Zaire have provided evidence for a well-developed bone industry in a Middle Stone Age context, indicating that a complex subsistence specialization had developed in Africa by this time.
Early human occupation of the Red Sea coast of Eritrea during the last interglacial
The discovery of early Middle Stone Age artefacts in an emerged reef terrace on the Red Sea coast of Eritrea are reported, which are date to the last interglacial using U–Th mass spectrometry techniques on fossil corals, which supports an African origin for modern humans by 125 kyr ago.
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.
Comparisons with similar bone tools from the Later Stone Age at Blombos Cave, other Cape sites and ethnographic collections show that although shaping methods are different, the planning and execution of bone tool manufacture in the Middle Stone Age is consistent with that in the late Holocene.
Thermoluminescence dating of flint
Blombos Cave, Southern Cape, South Africa : Preliminary report on the 1992-1999 excavations of the Middle Stone Age levels
The Later- and Middle Stone Age levels at Blombos Cave (BBC) were excavated over four field seasons between 1992 and 1999. Here we report on the results from the Middle Stone Age (MSA) levels. The
Holes and grooves: the contribution of microscopy and taphonomy to the problem of art origins.
Optical and scanning electron microscopy, comparative anatomy, data from modern and Pleistocene carnivore accumulations, and analysis of archeological materials show that some of the pieces interpreted by various scholars as engraved or perforated bones from European Lower and Middle Paleolithic sites are not early manifestations of non-utilitarian behavior.
Optical and radiocarbon dating at Jinmium rock shelter in northern Australia
The Jinmium rock shelter is located in the Kimberley region of northern Australia. Claims for ancient rock art and an early human presence at this site were based on thermoluminescence ages of 50–75
Humanity from African Naissance to Coming Millennia
information, such as that provided by a reflection in a mirror (Gallup, 1979), which indicates that, like us, chimpanzees have a knowledge of self. These shared behavioral traits were presumably in
Bone Artefacts from the Middle Stone Age at Blombos Cave, Southern Cape, South Africa1
L'article rapporte la decouverte, dans les niveaux du Middle Stone Age de la grotte de Blombos (Cape Town, Afrique du Sud), d'un mobilier lithique presentant des caracteristiques techniques et
FOCUS: Luminescence Dating of Coastal Sands: Overcoming Changes in Environmental Dose Rate
The luminescence dating of Pleistocene deposits produces erroneous ages if the radioactivity of the surroundings has changed over time. A subtraction procedure is described by which this problem can