A 73,000-year-old (I know very specific hey :) line design, according to experts, could have had special meaning for its makers. Whatever that phrasing means, according to the writers of science news magazine, I praise God for the fact that people finally have started to catch on the facts this blog and the people of South Africa has been saying for quite some time. This is the cradle of civilisation, everything started here and the people mentioned in the Bible, Moses and Abraham - came from the very same region.
The red marks on this stone from a cave in South-Africa are remnants of a crosshatched design researchers call the earliest know drawing. This crosshatched design displayed on a rock in a South African cave is the oldest etching/marking we know about, to date. This sketch is a line pattern made, from estimates 73,000 years ago by a pigmented line across a smoothed stone in the Blombos Cave. The oldest drawings up until this point was cave wall drawings from Europe and Indonesia. Now the arguments go, even though language has been traced (linguistically) back to South Africa several hundreds of thousands of years (KhoiKhoi and San, you the clicks I've been talking about), some of the first humans have left traced at Blombos Cave, according to archeologist Christopher Henshilwood, at University of Bergen. They came over the drawings while examining thousands of stone fragments and tools excavated in 2011 from cave sediment.
This is an illustration of the ancient crosshatched lines of pigment applied to a stone, that shows what the larger pattern could have looked like as it (probably extended) beyond the edges of the surviving pieces of rock. C. HENSHILWOOD ET AL/NATURE 2018.
Now all that being said, did language develop from these earliest of etchings? Or did the Sumerians learn to read and do math overnight, around 7000 years ago - as some researchers seem to suggest ? I reckon none of the above are true. I think language and writing (beit hieroglyphs or images) has always been a part of the human existence and then most certainly had a first common language. Quite possibly Xhosa or another closely related Bantu language. But the human being has since the beginning of time moved on in different ways of conveying inherent meanings and idioms. Standard languages with all kinds of grammatical rules and ventures eventually developed as the earliest tribes added their traditions and customs, to the said common language. More on the ancient languages of Southern Africa to come in a more comprehensive post. We shall investigate proto-Saharan, Egyptian and Proto-Bantu languages, but also Tifinagh, Nsibindi, Vai and Meriotic. Bet you haven't heard about these last mentions. Anyways - its a real treat :)