Archeologists have discovered what may be the oldest known drawing by Homo sapiens on a rock found in a South African cave. Featuring nine red strokes, researchers believe the markings predate by 30,000 years the oldest previously known abstract drawings by Homo sapiens.

According to the New York Times, the tiny fragment appears to have been drawn on a flake that measures only the size of about two thumbnails and features six parallel lives that are diagonally crossed by three curved lines. The scrawls were excavated seven years ago at the Blombos Caves, which are around 200 miles east of Cape Town. It was found along with bone tools, engravings, and beads made from seashells.

Luca Pollarolo, a researcher at Johannesburg’s University of Witwatersrand and the University of Geneva, was cleaning some artifacts unearthed from the site in 2011 when he realized that there was something unusual about the small rock fragment. He described the moment to the Times, “I think I saw more than ten thousand artifacts in my life up to now, and I never saw red lines on a flake,” he recalled, “I could not believe what I had in my hands.” Read more