Eideard

Earliest wall art is found in France — dates back 37,000 years

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A massive block of limestone in France contains what scientists believe are the earliest known engravings of wall art dating back some 37,000 years…

The 1.5 metric ton ceiling piece was first discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, a well known archeological site in southwestern France which holds some of the earliest forms of artwork, beads and pierced shells.

According to New York University anthropology professor Randall White, lead author of the paper…the art was likely meant to adorn the interior of a shelter for reindeer hunters.

“There is a whole question about how and why, and why here in this place at this particular time you begin to see people spending so much time and energy and imagination on the graphics.”

The images range from paintings of horses to “vulvar imagery” that appears to represent female sex organs, carved into the low ceiling that rose between 1.5 to two meters (yards) from the floor, within reach of the hunters.

The work is less sophisticated than the elaborate paintings of animals found in France’s Grotte Chauvet, which was more remote and difficult to access, believed to be between 30,000 and 36,000 years old.

In contrast, the engravings and paintings at Castanet, which carbon dating showed were about 37,000 years old, are rougher and more primitive in style, and were likely done by everyday people

However, even though the artwork is vastly different, archeologists believe the artists came from the same Aurignacian culture which comprised the first modern humans in Europe, replacing the Neanderthals. They lived from 40,000 years ago until about 28,000 years ago.

I don’t think any of them were named Methuselah or Noah. Who knows? Might have been Keith.

I wonder what studies are there about myths and legends carried forward from these cave paintings and engravings. You would think that oral tradition might suggest to someone a pattern to sort legends common to all cultures from some that may be unique to a region, time and people?

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Written by Ed Campbell

May 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm

One Response

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  1. Stunning. I’d be lucky if I could legibly carve my initials.

    moss

    May 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm


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