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Art & Music                   40,000 BC
Africa
Southwest Asia
Egypt
Indus Valley
China
Europe
South America
Mesoamerica
North America
Other

In General

The multiple ways in which Homo spaiens diverged physically and behaviorally from pre-sapiens forms of Homo in the period between about 300,000 years ago to 30,000 years ago are collectively referred to as the "Middle/Upper Paleolithic transition." This "transition" is visible in many radical changes, such as increased aesthetic expression in figurines, usually of bone or stone, beautiful wall paintings, and rock carvings, burial techniques, and objects used for personal adornment, and the appearance of articfact styles and trade in exotic items that bespeak the first manifestation of some sort of regional "ethinic" identity that exceeds by a wide margin the local band society--in short, changes that may relkfect the "total restructuring" of social relationships.(18)

Africa

 Ostrich eggshell bead making started between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago. Yet the art that we call representational imagery dates back to only 30,000 and 40,000 years ago. (70)

Southwest Asia

 

Egypt

 

Indus Valley

 

China

 

Europe

 Tools and tool types of the Aurignacian culture displayed standardization. Over time, they included end scrapers for preparing animal skins and burins for engraving. Flint tools were made from blades of stone rather than flakes. Projectile points (for hunting) were made from antler, bone, and ivory. Among their significant innovations was the development of body ornamentation, including pierced shells, animal teeth, carved bone pendants, bracelets, and ivory beads. The sudden explosion of exquisite art found at the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave was certainly among their most striking achievements. (70)

British archaeologist Paul Devereux recently made a truly awesome discovery about Paleolithic caves. He has shown that more than just visual art and ritual was going on in these caves; music was also being played in them. Devereux studied the acoustical properties of Paleolithic caves that were used forty thousand to twelve thousand years ago. Key Paleolithic caves have various red ochre and black dots, lines, and symbols that many people have wondered about. Devereux discovered that these crude symbols mark the acoustical properties of stalactites and stalagmites, as if the stalactites and stalagmites are vaulted acoustical pipes, similar to a pipe organ. The marks indicate which stalactites and stalagmites to strike to produce various tones within the caves. Devereux calls these stalactites and stalagmites lithophones. (129)

Equally interesting is the emergence of music. The first unequivocal evidence of human musical activity, in the form of a pipe made from a swan's bone dating from around 39 kya, was found at [a cave] in Germany. More than 20 similar carefully crafted pipes, from the Aurignacian to Magdalenian periods, have been found at the Isturitz Cave in southwest France. Some of these pipes were apparently designed to be played two-handed, and have chamfered holes to maximise acoustic efficiency. They appear also to be polished by frequent use. (145)

South America

 

Mesoamerica

 

North America

 

Other