A 130,000-Year-Old Neanderthal Bone Carving Discovered In Poland May Be One Of The Oldest Art Pieces Ever Found In Eurasia

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As evidenced by patterns etched into the walls of caves and other carvings, Neanderthals were capable of creating works of art.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, a 130,000-year-old Neanderthal bone carving may be one of the oldest art pieces ever found in Eurasia.

In 1953, a bear bone was discovered in the Dziadowa Skała Cave, which is located in southern Poland.

The bone measured four inches long and had 17 markings. It was unburied from a layer of soil that dated between 115,000 and 130,000 years old. Initially, experts believed the bone was a bear’s rib.

Now, seven decades later, a team of researchers realized it is actually a radial bone from the left foreleg of a juvenile bear.

They used three-dimensional microscopy and X-ray computed tomography to develop a digital model of the artifact. The team found that the 17 markings were made intentionally since they repeat and stick to an organized pattern.

So, the bone was not a tool or a ritual object. Instead, it was a decorative piece of art. It represents the earliest known artwork created by Neanderthals north of the Carpathian Mountains in Europe.

To gather more information about how the markings were placed onto the bear bone, the researchers recreated them on cattle bones with replications of ancient tools, such as flint knives and blades from the middle Paleolithic period.

They tested seven different carving techniques and concluded that the Neanderthal artist likely made the markings in one sitting with quick, repetitive movements using a flint knife.

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