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Hands Across The Globe

A figurative painting of a pig-deer or babirusa and hand stencil from one of the caves in Sulawesi, Indonesia. (Maxime Aubert) Are hand stencils, older than 40,000 years in Sulawesi, the visual relic of Humans’ journey out of Africa? A paper published in Nature today (Aubert et al. 2014) reveals U-Th dates on calcite deposits formed over painted hand stencils and shows the stencils are older than 39,900 years old along with figurative art that is older than 35,400 years old. Continue reading →

Neanderthal culture: Old masters

Nature have published a News Feature on our work on dating cave art in Spain and the debate surrounding the symbolic capabilities of Neanderthals. Last October Nature Journalist Tim Appenzeller accompanied me and my collaborators from Spain on a sampling trip to El Castillo cave in Cantabria, Northern Spain. We were collecting samples from calcite that has formed on top of the hundreds of ice-age paintings in the cave. Continue reading →