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Photos: Oldest Known Drawing Was Made with a Red Crayon

Ancient drawing

oldest known drawing

(Image credit: Craig Foster)

Homo sapiens created the world's first known drawing on this stone about 73,000 years ago in what is now South Africa.

The stone is made out of pre-heated silcrete, a fine-grained cemented form of sand and gravel, the researchers said.

[Read more about the oldest drawing on record]

Cave excavation

oldest known drawing

(Image credit: Magnus Haaland)

Researchers carefully excavate the different layers within Blombos Cave, the archaeological site where they found the stone flake. Study authors Christopher Henshilwood and Karen van Niekerk have slowly been excavating this cave since 1991.

Panoramic view

oldest known drawing

(Image credit: Magnus Haaland)

A panorama of Blombos Cave, where the earliest known drawing was discovered.

Parallel lines

oldest known drawing

(Image credit: Copyright D’Errico/Henshilwood/Nature)

The stone flake has a drawing made up of nine red lines: six that are parallel and three curved lines that cross over them.

Ochre engraving

oldest known drawing

(Image credit: Copyright D’Errico/Henshilwood/Nature)

An abstract pattern that scientists found engraved on a piece of ocher unearthed at Blombos Cave in the same archaeological layer that yielded the stone flake.

The cave

oldest known drawing

(Image credit: Magnus Haaland)

The outside of Blombos Cave, which is located in southern South Africa.

[Read more about the oldest drawing on record]

Laura Geggel
As an associate editor for Live Science, Laura Geggel covers general science, including the environment, archaeology and amazing animals. She has written for The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site covering autism research. Laura grew up in Seattle and studied English literature and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis before completing her graduate degree in science writing at NYU. When not writing, you'll find Laura playing Ultimate Frisbee.