Saturday, December 01, 2007

Crimson Clues From the Ancient Past
Chemists have confirmed something that archaeologists and art historians have long suspected: Ancient sculptures found in western Africa contain blood from ritual animal sacrifices in their patina. The study, which used new diagnostic techniques, should yield a greater understanding of the practices of artists from long ago, and it could open the way for more detailed analyses of the world's most precious artifacts.

Anthropologists and ethnologists have uncovered much cultural evidence, from oral histories and illustrations, that ancient African artists often used ritual animal blood in their creations, generally as attempts to please or appease their deities.