Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oldest art even older: New dates from Geißenklösterle Cave show early arrival of modern humans, art and music

Date:
May 24, 2012
Source:
Universitaet Tübingen
Summary:
New dates from Geißenklösterle Cave in Southwest Germany document the early arrival of modern humans and early appearance of art and music. The new dates use improved methods to remove contamination and produced ages between began between 42,000 to 43,000 years ago for start of the Aurignacian, the first culture to produce a wide range of figurative art, music and other key innovations.

Jewelry. Geißenklösterle Cave is one of several caves in the Swabian Jura that have produced important examples of personal ornaments, figurative art, mythical imagery and musical instruments.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universitaet Tübingen

New dates from Geißenklösterle Cave in Southwest Germany document the early arrival of modern humans and early appearance of art and music.

Researchers from Oxford and Tübingen have published new radiocarbon dates from the from Geißenklösterle Cave in Swabian Jura of Southwestern Germany in the Journal of Human Evolution. The new dates use improved methods to remove contamination and produced ages between began between 42,000 – 43,000 years ago for start of the Aurignacian, the first culture to produce a wide range of figurative art, music and other key innovations as postulated in the Kulturpumpe Hypothesis. The full spectrum of these innovations were established in the region no later than 40,000 years ago.

These are the earliest radiocarbon dates of Aurignacian deposits, and they predate Aurignacian dates from Italy, France, England and other regions. These results are consistent with the Danube Corridor hypothesis postulating that modern humans migrated to Europe and rapidly moved up the Danube drainage. Geißenklösterle Cave is one of several caves in the Swabian Jura that have produced important examples of personal ornaments, figurative art, mythical imagery and musical instruments. The new dates from Geißenklösterle together with existing dates using thermoluminescence confirm the great antiquity of the Swabian Aurignacian.

The new dates indicate that modern humans entered the Upper Danube region prior to an extremely cold climatic phase referred to as the H4 event dating to ca. 40,000 years ago. Previously, researchers had argued that modern humans initially migrated up the Danube immediately following the H4 event. As it now looks modern humans entered southwestern Germany during a mild phase of the last Ice Age, under climactic conditions, which should have been inhabitable by indigenous populations of Neanderthals. Despite a major effort to identify archaeological signatures of interaction between Neanderthals and modern humans, researchers have yet to identify indications of cultural contact between these groups in Upper Danube region.

These results point to the Upper Danube Valley as a plausible homeland for the Aurignacian, with the Swabian caves producing the earliest record of technological and artistic innovations that are characteristic of the this period. Whether the many innovations best documented in Swabia were stimulated by climatic stress, competition between modern humans and Neanderthals or by other social-cultural dynamics remains a central focus of research by the archaeologists from Tübingen and Oxford. High-resolution dating of the kind reported here is essential for establishing a reliable the chronology for testing hypothesis to explain the expansion of modern humans into Europe, the processes that led to a wide range of cultural innovations including the advent of figurative art and music, and the extinction of Neanderthals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitaet Tübingen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Thomas Higham, Laura Basell, Roger Jacobi, Rachel Wood, Christopher Bronk Ramsey, Nicholas J. Conard. Τesting models for the beginnings of the Aurignacian and the advent of figurative art and music: The radiocarbon chronology of Geißenklösterle. Journal of Human Evolution, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2012.03.003

Cite This Page:

Universitaet Tübingen. "Oldest art even older: New dates from Geißenklösterle Cave show early arrival of modern humans, art and music." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524092226.htm>.
Universitaet Tübingen. (2012, May 24). Oldest art even older: New dates from Geißenklösterle Cave show early arrival of modern humans, art and music. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524092226.htm
Universitaet Tübingen. "Oldest art even older: New dates from Geißenklösterle Cave show early arrival of modern humans, art and music." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524092226.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) — A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) — Parisians and local historians are fighting to save one of the French capital's iconic buildings, the La Samaritaine department store. Duration: 01:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Earliest Musical Instruments in Europe 40,000 Years Ago

May 27, 2012 — The first modern humans in Europe were playing musical instruments and showing artistic creativity as early as 40,000 years ago, according to new ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins