Talk:Chauvet Cave

The caves of Altamira located in Spain are small and shallow, while the caves of Lascaux located in France are much deeper and contain huge paintings. The cave paintings in both caves show the naturalistic depiction of animals. The bison shown in Altamira caves and the bulls drawn in the caves at Lascaux are thus easily identifiable. There is however a peculiar feature. The animals are all in profile viewed from the side in varied poses and states of movement. What is unusual is that the horned animals are shown with their horns twisted, so that both horns are visible.

France recreates prehistoric paintings from disputed Chauvet Cave

By Michael Marshall. After squeezing through a narrow passage, he found himself in a hidden cavern , the walls of which were covered with paintings of animals. Could the bones of cave bears settle the debate? Lawson accepts the radiocarbon findings. Two years later they argued that the cave walls were still chemically active, so the radiocarbon dating could have been thrown out by changes over the millennia to the pigments used to create the paintings Antiquity , vol 77, p To try to settle the controversy, Jean-Marc Elalouf of the Institute of Biology and Technology in Saclay, France, and his team have turned to the remains of cave bears.

It should be mentioned that this is based on the radiocarbon dating method.

Here we document the occurrence of strombolian volcanic activity located 35 km northwest of the cave, and visible from the hills above the cave entrance. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting material. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist. Volcanic eruptions are among the most impressive geological events on the surface of the earth. It is interesting to notice, however, that the oldest testimony of such an event in human history dates back only to about 9 ka [ 1 ].

It has so far been considered the oldest known painting of a volcanic eruption. The second oldest one is found in Armenia but is more than 2 ka younger [ 3 ].


During the Old Stone Age, between thirty-seven thousand and eleven thousand years ago, some of the most remarkable art ever conceived was etched or painted on the walls of caves in southern France and northern Spain. A true artist reimagines that concept with every blank canvas—but not from a void. Some caves have rock porches that were used for shelter, but there is no evidence of domestic life in their depths.

Sizable groups may have visited the chambers closest to the entrance—perhaps for communal rites—and we know from the ubiquitous handprints that were stamped or airbrushed using the mouth to blow pigment on the walls that people of both sexes and all ages, even babies, participated in whatever activities took place.

The oldest examples of Paleolithic dwellings are shelters in caves, followed by Artifacts dating from the Lower and Middle Paleolithic remain disputed as There is controversy among archaeologists as to its nature and origin. As is typical of most cave art, there are no paintings of complete human figures in Chauvet.

Chauvet cave. There are a number of articles here. You will have seen all the images they are discussing. You can get to the original by using the url above. This was a mind blowing article which seems to corroborate everything Jean has said about cavebears, horses, bison, cave lions, mammoths, rhinos. Standing before the hanging rock deep inside the damp cave, archeologist Yanik Le Guillou had a brainstorm: he would mount the digital camera on a foot-long pole, manoeuvre it around and past the rock, turn the whole contraption just so, and On the first try, the scientists cut off the head of what looked like a painting of a bison.

On the second try they cut off its feet. Finally they captured the whole animal-it was now looking more like a musk ox or a rhinoceros without horns -and the next day bagged even bigger quarry: painted next to the beast were a lion and a mammoth, powerful animals that are almost as rare in Paleolithic cave art as they are on the streets of Paris. Running Bison. The artist has shown movement by drawing extra legs.

Introduction to the Cave Art Paintings of the Chauvet Cave

But its study — when one places it in its natural regional, cultural and thematic framework — makes it impossible to see it as an isolated entity of astonishing precocity. This needs to be reconsidered, and the affinities that our research has brought to light are clearly incompatible with the very early age which has been attributed to it. And if one extends this examination to the whole of the Franco-Cantabrian domain, the conclusion is inescapable: although Chauvet cave displays some unique characteristics like every decorated cave , it belongs to an evolved phase of parietal art that is far removed from the motifs of its origins known from art on blocks and on shelter walls dated by stratigraphy to the Aurignacian, in France and Cantabrian Spain.

The majority of its works are therefore to be placed, quite normally, within the framework of the well-defined artistic creations of the Gravettian and Solutrean. Moreover, this phase of the Middle Upper Palaeolithic 26,—18, coincides with a particularly intensive and diversified local human occupation, unknown in earlier periods and far less dense afterwards in the Magdalenian.

cave bear. Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Gravettian Magdalenian radiocarbon dating of the Grotte Chauvet with its impressive cave art, but controversy continues over.

A bison painted on the walls of the Chauvet cave in southern France. New research creates the best timeline yet of who frequented the caves and when. Before the three amateur spelunkers found the cave in December that year, scientists believed, no human had stepped foot inside for more than 27, years. Now, scientists have assembled more than radiocarbon dates made from rock art samples, animal bones and the remains of charcoal used by humans scattered on the ground to create the most accurate timeline yet of who used the cave and when.

The new work, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that humans frequented the cave during two distinct periods that were separated by several thousands of years. The newly synthesized data suggest the first period of human occupation lasted from 37, to 33, years ago. The second prehistoric occupation began 31, to 28, years ago and lasted for 2, to 3, years, the researchers wrote. It appears they went there mostly to create their symbolic art.

Then, several thousands of years after, another group from another place with another culture visited the cave. The first round of human occupation was likely longer than the second. It is also when most of the drawings were done.

First Impressions

This international specialist group focuses on the study, analysis, conservation and management of rock art occurring in limestone caves, and on any other subject closely connected with an understanding of cave art. The history of the study of rock art in deep caves is widely regarded as having commenced with the discovery of the Palaeolithic art in Altamira, Spain, in However, cave art has been known to exist in various parts of the world practically since its creation.

For instance, Neolithic art, Roman and later inscriptions in the vicinity of Palaeolithic cave art all suggest that the art was seen at these various times.

Although the age of the paintings found in this cave has long remained controversial, radiocarbon dates have now robustly constraint the oldest.

The photo of the Chauvet Cave lions is not in the public domain. The owner s are still alive and it was taken only 10 or so years ago. There may be some other category by which this photo can be shown, but it is definitely not public domain. Ande B. The article says: “Most of the artwork dates to the earlier, Aurignacian, era 30, to 32, years ago. Some researchers, notably Paul Pettitt, challenge the dates, arguing that the drawings are too advanced for that era, and that the existing radiocarbon samples may be unreliable and contaminated by the cave wall itself: P.

Pettitt Art and the Middle-to-Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe: Comments on the archaeological arguments for an early Upper Paleolithic antiquity of the Grotte Chauvet art. Journal of Human Evolution, Fleabox talk , 1 September UTC.


Rachel Wood does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Radiocarbon dating has transformed our understanding of the past 50, years. Professor Willard Libby produced the first radiocarbon dates in and was later awarded the Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon.

meaning to rock art is both highly challenging and controversial, with the literature Current problems in dating Palaeolithic cave art: Candamo and Chauvet.

But it was the human traces that were most interesting…. The cave bears also left innumerable scratches on the walls and footprints on the ground. Scientists managed to identify hundreds of painted animals, depicting at least 13 different species, some of which were never found in other drawings. The paintings themselves are spectacular; to me, the fact that people were able to create this level of art is amazing.

Although this is still controversial, many people believe there is also a cinematic aspect to these drawings: since paintings were done in caves, where the only light available was from fire, the flickering of the flame combined with the repeating images makes it seem as if the picture was actually moving. To further strengthen this theory, some animals have 6 legs to make them seem like they are moving. From the archaeological record, we now know that these species were not routinely hunted by early humans, so these were not hunting stories.

All these things indicate one thing: these are drawings in the full sense of the word, with a very high artistic value not to mention the archaeological and historical value. I studied the lines of black edges, and the use of smudging to produce shadow. Then I saw that the artist had highlighted the outer edge of the drawing by chiseling into the white rock surface. The incising immediately brought to mind the wonders of Egypt, but they were done 3, years ago. As scientific investigations continued, it was shown that the techniques used here were rarely used in other cave art.

The walls were initially scraped clear of debris and concretions, leaving a clear surface for the artist to work on. Also, some scenes depict animals interacting with each other, something extremely rare in prehistoric art.

Did Humans Make These Ancient Cave Paintings?