Material culture

Tiny mammoth sculpture

Late last month, German archeologists announced the discovery of intricate figurines that were made around 35,000 years ago. Made from mammoth ivory, the beautiful carvings include a mammoth and a lion. Recall from June 27's post--the oldest human jewelery/artwork has been dated to 82,000 years ago. These 35,000-year-old animals, the mammoth especially, look like they might have been made yesterday.

The oldest human symbols

Shell beads that were once strung together and covered in red ochre have been found in Grotte des Pigeons, Morocco. The beads date to 82,000 years ago, five thousand years older than similar artifacts found in South Africa's Blombos Caves (previously thought to be the oldest human artifacts). Together they suggest that bead-making was not an isolated, rare activity but was spread amongst different human groups at this time. NatGeo, PNAS.