Originally published 03/12/2013
The 2013 Academy Awards were, as always, as much about making appearances as about making films, as red carpet watchers noted fashion trends and faux pas. Both Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts wore Armani, although fortunately not the same dress. And Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway switched from Valentino to a controversial pale pink Prada at the last minute because her original dress looked too much like someone else's. Of course, no actress would be caught dead wearing the same style 2 years in a row. A new study of ancient beaded jewelry from a South African cave finds that ancient humans were no different, avoiding outdated styles as early as 75,000 years ago.Personal ornaments, often in the form of beads worn as necklaces or bracelets, are considered by archaeologists as a key sign of sophisticated symbolic behavior, communicating either membership in a group or individual identity. Such ornaments are ubiquitous in so-called Upper Paleolithic sites in Europe beginning about 40,000 years ago, where they were made from many different materials—animal and human teeth, bone and ivory, stone, and mollusk shells—and often varied widely among regions and sites....
Originally published 02/05/2013
The art world loves hype. Works are touted as the biggest, the rarest, the most expensive.Even in an age of superlatives, the British Museum has something special - the oldest known figurative art in the world.The artworks on display in the new exhibition "Ice Age Art" are so old that many are carved from the tusks of woolly mammoths.But it's not just their age that may surprise visitors. It's their artistry.These are artworks, not just prehistoric artifacts. Some of the sophisticated carvings, sculptures and drawings of people and animals look like something Pablo Picasso or Henry Moore might have created...