The 50 Oldest Things in the World
42. Measuring Device
> Oldest: Lebombo bone
> Approximate Date: 33,000 B.C.
> Location: Swaziland
Lebombo bone, found in the Lebombo Mountains in Swaziland, is dated back about 35,000 years ago and is believed to be the oldest measuring device. The instrument has 29 markings and was created from the fibula — the calf bone — of a baboon. Scientists think the device could have been used to gauge menstrual or lunar cycles.
43. Cave Painting
> Oldest: El Castillo Cave Paintings
> Approximate Date: 40,800 B.C.
> Location: El Castillo, Spain
The country that was home to Picasso and El Greco is also believed to be home to the world’s oldest cave paintings. A study by the University of Bristol, based on carbon-dating results in 2012, determined that the prehistoric dots and crimson-hued stencils in a cave on Spain’s northern coast are more than 40,000 years old. Archaeologists think Neanderthals could be the oldest painters. Neanderthals are thought to have lived in Europe until about 30,000 or 40,000 years ago. A cave on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia contains paintings that some scholars claim are at least as old, if not older, than the cave paintings in Spain.
44. Musical Instrument
> Oldest: Bone Flute
> Approximate Date: 41,000-40,000 B.C.
> Location: Hohle Fels Cave, Germany
More than 40,000 years before the dawn of recorded music, people were already crafting their own tunes. Scientists discovered flutes made out of mammoth bones in present-day Germany. They used radiocarbon tests to date the flutes at 42,000-43,000 years old. Though early humans probably didn’t have enough to make a symphony, scientists say the discovery proved that the Danube River area in Germany was a key place for humans to develop.
> Oldest: Krapina Eagle Talon Jewelry
> Approximate Date: 128,000 B.C.
> Location: Krapina site, Croatia
Found in Krapina, Croatia, in 2015, the oldest jewelry is about 130,000 years old. This prehistoric bling, found at a Neanderthal site, is in the form of a necklace or a bracelet of eagle talons. The claws bear evidence of cut marks and polishing. Scientists believe the jewelry was used for ceremonial purposes.
> Oldest: Lomekwi 3 Stone tools
> Approximate Date: 3.3 million B.C.
> Location: Kenya
The oldest tools are made of stone and are 3.3 million years old. This means the tools predate humans and might be evidence of a pre-human species smart enough to make sharp stone tools. The tools were found in Kenya’s northwestern desert. The previously oldest tools were the Oldowan stone tools, which are roughly 2.6 million years old.