A shell with a zig-zag pattern suggests that archaic humans were producing abstract symbols much earlier than originally thought. This shell found on Java in the late 1800s appears to have been carved half a million years ago by archaic humans.
Read more here and here.
The same pattern appears on the edge of the 77,000 year old red ochre stone found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa.
Among archaic populations the chief and his family were buried in red ochre dust, a symbol of blood ("Life is in the blood.") This practice was wide spread and evidently very ancient.
Related reading: Africa is Archaeologically Rich; Meat Consumption 3 Million Years Ago?; Blood and Crosses; Mining Blood?; Ethical Concerns of Archaic Communities