The presence of symbols in a culture is no evidence of the presence of language: so say six authors* (mostly generative linguists) of a paper just published in the International Journal of Evolutionary Biology. ("The Archaeological Record Speaks: Bridging Anthropology and Linguistics" is available here.) Their point is that the discovery of ancient symbols (from, say, a hundred thousand years ago) does not prove that the people of that period had a "faculty of language." Where this matters is in the case of Neanderthals. They had symbols, but, say the authors, that doesn't mean they had language. A better indicator of the language faculty, the authors suggest, might be the presence of knots.