One of the main themes of Graham Hancock’s bestselling book Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind was that the emergence of painting some 40,000 years ago marked a shift in human consciousness, possibly brought about via consciousness expanding substances. Now a clam shell buried between 430,000 and 540,000 years ago with artwork etched onto it has emerged, reports New Scientist. What might this mean?
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The artist – if she or he can be called that – was right-handed and used a shark’s tooth. They had a remarkably steady hand and a strong arm. Half a million years ago, on the banks of a calm river in central Java, they scored a deep zigzag into a clam shell.
We will never know what was going on inside its maker’s head, but the tidy, purposeful line (pictured above right) has opened a new window into the origins of our modern creative mind.