The oldest yet drawing by a modern human has been discovered in South Africa and it’s more than 30,000 years older than the previous oldest ones in Spain and Indonesia:
Archaeologists found the marked stone fragment as they sifted through spear points and other material excavated at Blombos cave in South Africa. It has taken seven years of tests to conclude that a human made the lines with an ochre crayon 73,000 years ago.
The simple red marks adorn a flake the size of two thumbnails which appears to have broken off a grindstone cobble used to turn lumps of ochre into paint powder. The lines end so abruptly at the fragment’s edges that researchers believe the cross-hatches were originally part of a larger design drawn on the cobble.
Says Christopher Henshilwood, leader of the research team and director of the Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour at the University of Bergen in Norway: “There’s no doubt that it’s a symbol that meant something to the people who made it. It’s a symbol that’s been repeated over and over again, and it keeps on being repeated across the world in Australia, France and Spain, and everywhere else. This is part of the repertoire of signs the human brain reproduces. I can’t tell you what it means, and I can’t say it’s art.”
Considering that particular geographic spread the symbol probably means “three beers, please”.
The 40,000 year old art in El Castillo cave in Spain seems certainly more impressive:
My guess is these are six-packs of beer.