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Oldest sculptures unearthed
Carvings show early Europeans' prodigious skill.
18 December 2003
A set of ivory figurines found in southwestern Germany add to a growing cache of the oldest art known.
The 30,000-year-old carvings underline the remarkable creativity of our earliest European ancestors. Nicholas Conard of the University of Tübingen, Germany, discovered the 2-centimetre-high figures in the Hohle Fels Cave in the country's Swabia region1.
The figurines, and similar relics previously unearthed in Swabia, are the earliest known representations of living forms. "Without question, they are the oldest corpus of figurative art in the world," says archaeologist Anthony Sinclair of the University of Liverpool, UK.