Prehistoric Housekeeping: Children in Caves Left Marks on Walls

Don't rebuke your children for marking up the walls! They're following in a rich tradition that spans human history. Archaeologist Jessica Cooney has determined that finger marks left in the soft stone of a certain French cave complex were made by children. She can tell because the marks are so small that they could have only been inscribed by young kids. In fact, she's able to trace markings to individual children, which can be identified by age and gender:

The researchers suspect that eight to 10 people, including four kids aged 7 or younger, were behind the ancient finger flutings. Children left marks in every chamber. One of them was apparently just 2 or 3 years old and may have been helped by a grown-up. "The most prolific of the children who made flutings was aged around 5 — and we are almost certain the child in question was a girl," Cooney said.

Cooney said that child's markings appear on cave ceilings more than 6 feet (2 meters) high, which would suggest that she was held up or put on someone's shoulders to make the marks. One chamber was so marked up by children that it may have served as a "playpen of sorts," she said.

Video at the link.

Link -via Glenn Reynolds | Image: Cambridge University

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