Saturday, September 09, 2006

Body art made its mark 300,000 years ago, scientists claim
The use of coloured pigments in early forms of body art may have begun many tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought, according to a study of artefacts found at an ancient archaeological site in Africa.

Scientists working at the Twin Rivers hilltop cave near Lusaka in Zambia have found evidence for the use of colours - possibly for body painting - as early as 300,000 years ago.

This would predate the known use of coloured pigments in cave art by more than 200,000 years and, if confirmed, mark the point when humans began to experiment with paint.

The headline is kind of misleading, as there isn't any evidence what the pigments were used for. But the sort of secondary evidence -- tools for working the pigment instead of the actual things the pigments were applied to -- is a nice angle.