The Oldest Artists - So Far

The more the movies go back to the future, the more archaeologists make progress into the past. They now find artists, if not critics, at work more than twice as long ago as Europe's celebrated cave painters.

The evidence: thousands of 75,000-year-old rock engravings, perfect circles, discovered in Australia. They suggest that artistic expression, a characteristic of modern Homo sapiens, goes back farther than anybody thought. One of the results could be a change in scholarly views of prehistory.

The expert analysis isn't over. But once more sermons in stones nudge us to ponder what it means to be human in any age.

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