Bone Carving May Be Oldest Art in North America

Found in Florida, it's about 13,000 years old
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 24, 2011 9:55 AM CDT
This undated handout photo provided by the Smithsonian Institution shows a carved image, at least 13,000 years old, found in Vero Beach, Fla.   ((AP Photo/Smithsonian))

(Newser) – Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists. A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports. While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers say in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"It's pretty exciting, we haven't found anything like this in North America," says one co-author. Cave paintings showing animals have been found in Texas, but those were dated to about 4,000 years ago, much more recent than the newly found carved bone. The bone fragment, discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., contains an incised image about 3 inches long from head to tail and about 1 3/4 inches from head to foot.

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