Prehistoric ‘hashtag’ may be world’s oldest drawing: study

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This undated photo provided by Magnus M. Haaland in September 2018 shows researchers in the interior of the Blombos Cave east of Cape Town, South Africa. (AP)
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This undated photo provided by Craig Foster in September 2018 shows a drawing made with ochre pigment on silcrete stone, found in the Blombos Cave east of Cape Town, South Africa. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2018
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Prehistoric ‘hashtag’ may be world’s oldest drawing: study

  • The design pre-dates previously identified abstract drawings from Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia by at least 30,000 years
  • It was found by researchers inside the Blombos Cave, around 300 kilometers (185 miles) east of Cape Town

PARIS: It may be a symbol of the Internet age but scientists in South Africa have found an ancient hashtag scrawled on a piece of rock that they believe is the world’s oldest “pencil” drawing.
The design, which archaeologists say was created around 73,000 years ago, pre-dates previously identified abstract drawings from Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia by at least 30,000 years.
It was found by researchers inside the Blombos Cave, around 300 kilometers (185 miles) east of Cape Town, a site that contains evidence of some of the earliest instances of what humans today would call culture.
Previous expeditions to the cave found shell beads, engraved pieces of ochre and even tools manufactured from a rudimentary cement-like substance.
Among the artefacts was a small flake of silicate rock, onto which a three-by-six line cross-hatched pattern had been intentionally drawn in red ochre.
“Our microscopic and chemical analyzes of the pattern confirm that red ochre pigment was intentionally applied to the flake with an ochre crayon,” the team wrote in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
They said the pattern appearing on the fragment may have originally extended over a larger area and could have been “more complex in its entirety.”
Although there are far older known cave engravings, including one in Java that is at least half-a-million years old, the team of researchers said the Blombos Cave hashtag was the oldest known drawing.
“This reinforces the idea that drawing was something that existed in the minds of the hunter-gatherers,” Francesco d’Errico, a director of the National Center for Scientific Research at the University of Bordeaux, told AFP.
While drawings such as the one unearthed in South Africa undoubtedly had a “symbolic meaning” d’Errico said early humans “probably didn’t consider them as art.”


Blake Lively makes a surprise trip to Abu Dhabi

Updated 19 November 2018
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Blake Lively makes a surprise trip to Abu Dhabi

  • Blake Lively is the wife of Ryan Reynolds who is currently shooting a film in the UAE capital
  • The pair were spotted at various locations across the city by excited fans while Reynolds posted photos of Lively and the crew enjoying dinner in Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: Hollywood actress and style icon Blake Lively jetted into Abu Dhabi over the weekend to pay her equally famous heartthrob husband, Ryan Reynolds, a visit as he shoots scenes for action movie “6 Underground.”

The pair were spotted at various locations across the city by excited fans while Reynolds posted photos of Lively and the crew enjoying dinner in Abu Dhabi on his Instagram stories.

Reynolds, Latin actress Adria Arjona and a host of other famous faces will be in the city for 30 days to shoot scenes for the Netflix/Skydance Media film.

Arjona took to Instagram to post a series of snaps from the UAE, including shots of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The star, who is best known for her role in the HBO television series “True Detective,” is joined in the film by actors Ben Hardy, Lior Raz, Mélanie Laurent, Corey Hawkins and Manuel Rulfo.

There are more than 300 cast and crew in the country working under award-winning director Michael Bay, whose portfolio includes “Bad Boys,” “Armageddon,” the “Transformer” franchise and “The Rock.”

The cast will shoot at four locations, including the Liwa desert, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras Al-Khaimah.

 “Shooting in Abu Dhabi is going to be one of the highlights of this production, although you’ll have to wait until the movie hits Netflix to find out why,” Reynolds said in a public statement last week.

“We’ve only been here a few days so far, but the welcome from everyone has been amazing and I can’t wait to explore Abu Dhabi more.”

The movie’s production team includes more than 100 Abu Dhabi-based production specialists, who are working closely with media zone twofour54, which is providing production services.

This is just the latest in a string of blockbusters to use Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE as a location.

Others have included the comedy “War Machine,” starring Brad Pitt, in 2015.

In a statement, Michael Bay said: “Abu Dhabi is a unique place to make a movie, with a lot of great looks.  It’s got the diversity and architecture I need in front of the camera, plus the professional facilities, crew and infrastructure to back it up.  I’m very excited to be shooting here over the next few weeks.