by Richard W. Wise
Author: The Dawning: 31,000 BC
Recently, a carved deer bone (phalanx) of the giant species Megaloceros has been found at a Neanderthal excavation at Einhornhohle in the Harz Mountains. Dated stratigraphically and by Carbon 14 to 51,000 BP, the bone exhibits a cross-hatched slicing pattern or offset chevrons, a pattern roughly similar to the oldest "art" yet found, the celebrated engraved red ochre nodule unearthed at Blombos Cave, South Africa, and dated to 73,000 BP.
The deer bone appears to have no practical use. That, coupled with the rarity of this species, has led archeologists to conclude that it must have some symbolic meaning. Was this the result of a Neanderthal checking the edge of his newly knapped flint handaxe? Archeologists have the unsettling habit of labeling anything for which they can determine no use as a symbolic or votive object.
Whatever the cause, note that the archeological community has embraced the ochre nodule found at Blombos but not the Einhornhohle deer bone. John Shea, an archeologist from Stony Brook University, suggests the bone could have b as a sinker on a fishing line or a spool for thread, humm!
Heard the latest? Tiny daubs next to paintings of prey animals at Chauvet, Lascaux and elsewhere are identified as seasonal calendars. StayTuned!