Emergence of Higher Thought 3.0-0.2 Ma B.P.

K. P. Oakley


The oldest known probable manuport is the dark reddish jasperite pebble from a layer with Australopithecus at Makapansgat, Transvaal (ca. 3 Ma). There are indications at two earliest Acheulian sites in east Africa that Homo erectus of ca. 1.5 Ma B.P. was interested in red mineral pigment. At Terra Amata, near Nice, 75 shaped pieces of red ochre were found with the earliest European Acheulian industry (ca. 0.3 Ma B.P.). This occurrence indicates that to an Acheulian society red mineral pigment had great symbolic value. Several flint and chert artefacts from Acheulian sites in Britain are described on account of embedded fossils, evidently regarded as symbolic, with a visual pattern stimulating to an aesthetic impulse in the minds of men who selected the material in preference to the more readily available plain flint. Most remarkable are two humanly struck flakes of coral-bearing chert found in the Swanscombe Gravels (0.2 Ma B.P.). This starry stone, it is inferred, was a manuport carried about 120 miles (ca. 193 km) from an outcrop of Jurassic (Portlandian) rock at Tisbury in Wiltshire.

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