Friday, November 12, 2021

What We Have Learned, so far, about Ancient Cave Art


Neil Bockoven tells us that the oldest works of "cave art" presently documented are handprints in Tibet that may be 226,000 years old  - probably Denisovan or Neanderthal (Zhang et al. 2021). 

The oldest Homo sapien drawing is a cross-hatching on a piece of red ochre made more than 73,000 years ago in South Africa (Henshilwood et al. 2018).

The oldest known cave painting is a Neanderthal's 64,000-year-old, red hand stencil in Spain (Hoffmann et al. 2018). 

Nearly 350 caves that contain prehistoric art have been discovered in Europe, but a lot has been found elsewhere too. The most common subjects in cave paintings are large animals, such as horses, bison, aurochs, and deer, as well as tracings of human hands. 

The oldest representational painting - of a warty pig - is found in Indonesia and dates to at least 45,500 years (Brumm et al. 2021). All of these wonderful works of art help define the early edge of human abstract thinking. 

See Ancient Wonders of Archaeology, Art History & Architecture