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Archaeologists have found in Denisova cave of the ancient pencil

Археологи нашли в Денисовой пещере древний «карандаш»Not so long ago in the cave found ancient jewelry.

Archaeologists have found in Denisova cave of the ancient pencil – a piece of hematite that was processed 45-50 thousand years ago.

Denisova cave is located in the southern part of the Altai territory and is famous because here at different times lived three kinds of people – extinct Neanderthals, denisovans and modern humans. Moreover, the Neanderthals and denisovans lived here around the same time and occasionally intersect. This is evidenced by the traces of DNA found in the same cultural layers, and in the Denisova cave were found the remains of a direct descendant of two extinct species of a teenage girl, who was the daughter of Neandertals and Denisova.

Archaeologists found in the cave, numerous artifacts, particularly stone tools, bone beads, pendants of animal teeth and ornamental stones. Here found the oldest known the needle, which allegedly has made about 50 thousand years ago and, more recently, a fragment of a diadem of ivory.

The new discovery was a piece processed in the form of a pencil of hematite – mineral red color, which ancient people used as a dye. Scientists found it in a layer dated between 45-50 thousand years ago. “It’s a natural pigment, is recorded in the form of so-called pencil. It is obvious that it has been processed, we may be perceived as an artifact. Specific application, we do not know, but presumably it was used in some artistic purposes. This is the first discovery of its kind in the Denisova cave. In the Paleolithic of the Altai Republic such objects are known at another Park in Central Altai. Other examples of the use of dyes in the early stage of the upper Paleolithic we don’t know,” says the Director of the Institute, corresponding member of RAS Mikhail Shunkov.

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