Cave & Rock Art

Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
12,023
Likes
146
Points
114
#31
ramonmercado said:
Were Paleolithic Cave Painters High on Psychedelic Drugs?
http://www.alternet.org/drugs/paleolith ... paging=off

Scientists Propose Ingenious Theory for Why They Might Have Been
Science finds evidence of a biological-hallucinogenic basis for seeing geometric patterns.
July 8, 2013 |

Prehistoric cave paintings across the continents have similar geometric patterns not because early humans were learning to draw like Paleolithic pre-schoolers, but because they were high on drugs, and their brains—like ours—have a biological predisposition to "see" certain patterns, especially during consciousness altering states.

This thesis—that humanity’s earliest artists were not just reeling due to mind-altering activities, but deliberately sought those elevated states and gave greater meaning to those common visions—is the contention of a new paper by an international research team.

Their thesis intriguingly explores the “biologically embodied mind,” which they contend gave rise to similarities in Paleolithic art across the continents dating back 40,000 years, and can also be seen in the body painting patterns dating back even further, according to recent archelogical discoveries.

At its core, this theory challenges the long-held notion that the earliest art and atrists were merely trying to draw the external world. Instead, it sees cave art as a deliberate mix of rituals inducing altered states for participants, coupled with brain chemistry that elicits certain visual patterns for humanity’s early chroniclers.

Put another way, if Jackson Pollock could get drunk and make his splatter paintings while his his head was spinning, primitive men and women could eat pyschedelic plants and commence painting on cave walls—in part, presenting the patterns prompted by brain biochemistry but seen as having super-sensory significance.

“The prevalence of certain geometric patterns in the symbolic material culture of many prehistoric cultures, starting shortly after the emergence of our biological species and continuing in some indigenous cultures until today, is explained in terms of the characteristic contents of biologically determined hallucinatory experience,” the researchers hypothesize.

Of course, you can’t just posit that cave painters were doing prehistoric drugs without raising a few questions, such as why they gravitated—and kept gravitating—to the same kinds of shapes? The scientists start by citing decades-old research exploring drug use in indigenous cultures that suggest some hallucinations are induced by the brain seeing “neural” patterns—literally the cellular structure of brains.

“Researchers also generally claim that the geometric hallucinations experienced by the subject are mental representations of these neural patterns,” they write. “However, while these neural models are capable of reproducing some of the geometric patterns that are found in prehistoric art and non-ordinary visual experiences, their range remains severely limited.”

So brain biology plays a role, but it’s not enough to account for ancient pop art taste and trends! The brain might be generating the same kinds of patterns, but the early artist-shamans went further. Like many consciousness-exploring humans today, apparently they not only liked what they saw and created rituals to inspire their art, but they also believed that what they saw was more special than than the grind of their daily lives.

“We speculate that the self-sustaining dynamics may account for why these geometric hallucinations were experienced as more significant than other phenomena, and that at the same time their underlying neural dynamics may have served to mediate and facilitate a form of imaginary sense-making that is not bound to immediate surroundings,” the scientists say.

Translated, that knotty sentence comes down to this: The cave painters had rituals that involved taking drugs (undoubtedly plants) that they consumed in a frenzy to get to this creative state. This behavior and the same results were noted by 1960s-era academics studying the effects of peyote, a hallucinogenic cactus found in North America.

“The non-ordinary visual experiences were often characterized by similar kinds of abstract geometric patterns, which he classified into four categories of form constants: (1) gratings, lattices, fretworks, filigrees, honeycombs, and checkerboards; (2) cobwebs; (3) tunnels and funnels, alleys, cones, vessels; and (4) spirals,” they write, citing peyote research. “Intriguingly, these form constants turned out to resemble many of the abstract motifs that are often associated with prehistoric art from around the world, including Paleolithic cave art in Europe.”

But why would people across continents and cultures be drawn to record the same shapes?

“Of course, it still remains to be explained why these particular motifs were highly regarded by the artists and how these people became artists capable of symbolic expression in the first place,” they write. “It makes sense to investigate whether the biological mechanisms underlying the production of these visual phenomena is amenable to an analysis in terms of Turing instabilities [a scientific name for biochemical reaction in the brain that ties it to a propensity for certain patterns].”

The paper gets very technical, but the images that are said to be generated by specific neural centers tied to images do resemble the templates for lots of 1960s poster artists, such as Peter Max and San Francisco’s psychedelic rock scene.

Why did they gravitate to these patterns? Because the imagery was seen or sensed while having a super-sensory experience and therefore seemed to be imbued with cosmic significance. Put another way, people who are high as kites tend to find magic in simple details.

“When these visual patterns are seen during altered states of consciousness they are directly experienced as highly charged with significance,” they posit. “In other words, the patterns are directly perceived as somehow meaningful and thereby offer themselves as salient motifs for use in rituals.”

The scientists admit that straighter-laced science is not quite ready for this explanation.

“Clearly, neurophenomenology is currently not advanced enough to explain the particular content of these experiences, but it does successfully explain why the experiences are characterized by such an intensely felt significance,” they write.

The paper is fascinating. For one, if it’s true—and why not?—one can posit that humanity has evolved. All one needs to do is open a book on the art from the ongoing Burning Man festivals in the Nevada desert. Much of the expression there seems to be a consequence of a deliberate process of consciousness-expanding ritual and subsequent creartivity. And compared to cave walls, it’s a bit more diverse and rarified.

Steven Rosenfeld covers democracy issues for AlterNet and is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).
I'm surprised that it's taken these 'scientists' so long to cotton on. :lol:
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
3,266
Likes
1,214
Points
169
#32
The idea is quite an old one, and I remember it being around back in the 70's - the 'altered states' theory, one might call it, although whether psychomimetic drugs were more important than the effects of starving themselves and other ordeals I wouldn't like to say.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#34
October 9, 2013 11:38 am
Ancient Women Artists May Be Responsible for Most Cave Ar

Photo: Xipe Totec39

Since cave art often depicts game species, a subject near and dear to hunters, most researchers have assumed that the people behind this mysterious artwork must have been male. But new research suggests that’s not right: when scientists looked closely at a sample of hand stencils, a common motif in cave art, they concluded that about three-quarters were actually drawn by women.

What they looked at, specifically, was the lengths of fingers in drawings from eight caves in France and Spain, National Geographic writes. Biologists established rules of thumb for general differences between men and women’s hand structure about a decade ago.

Women tend to have ring and index fingers of about the same length, whereas men’s ring fingers tend to be longer than their index fingers.

[Archeologist Dean] Snow ran the numbers through an algorithm that he had created based on a reference set of hands from people of European descent who lived near his university. Using several measurements—such as the length of the fingers, the length of the hand, the ratio of ring to index finger, and the ratio of index finger to little finger—the algorithm could predict whether a given handprint was male or female. Because there is a lot of overlap between men and women, however, the algorithm wasn’t especially precise: It predicted the sex of Snow’s modern sample with about 60 percent accuracy.

The 32 hand prints he found in the caves, however, were more pronounced in their differences than those of the modern men and women he sampled. Based upon the model and measurements, he found that 75 percent of the hands belonged to women.

National Geographic points out that the mystery is far from definitively solved. While some hail the new study as a “landmark contribution,” others are more skeptical. Another researcher recently studied the palm-to-thumb ratio of the hand prints and concluded they mostly belonged to teenage boys, who, he told NatGeo, often drew their two favorite topics: big powerful animals and naked ladies.



Read more: http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartne ... z2hGjiJMNX
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,247
Likes
8,948
Points
284
#35
Women tend to have ring and index fingers of about the same length, whereas men’s ring fingers tend to be longer than their index fingers.
Strange for me that this should crop up today - I had a fragment of a dream last night where the ring finger of my left hand was abnormally long, even longer than the middle finger!

I went to bed before this article was posted. But I wasn't sleeping well, so I put the radio on several times. Perhaps this cave art theory was mentioned on the radio, and my dozing brain turned it into a dream...?
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#36
Scumbags destroying our ancient heritage.

How to steal a cave painting: Thieves damage 5,000-yo rock in Spain

A damaged rock painting in Los Escolares Cave (image by @puertanatura)

A 5,000 year old rock painting in the cave defined as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in southern Spanish Andalusia, has been “irreparably” damaged by thieves who tried to steal an artwork by cutting it out of a rock.

The painting located in Los Escolares Cave in Jaen province is now “irreparable,” said local mayor Juan Caminero, Spanish daily La Vanguardia reported.

Caminero condemned the act, calling it “heartless,” adding that local residents are outraged over the accident as the historic site was untouched by man for at least 5,000 years.

The damage was noticed Saturday morning by a group of visitors in Despenaperros National Park of municipality Santa Elena where the cave is located.

The visitors saw rock fragments and fine dust while the painting itself looked like if someone was trying to cut out the artwork with a pick-ax.

Meanwhile, Spanish Civil Guard has already started investigating the case.

Los Escolares Cave was discovered 41 years ago on March 3, 1973, by a group of scholars. The cave is a small hole in the rock, about 1.5 meters wide and 1.5 meters deep.

It is a part of a huge caves ensemble of the Mediterranean Basin on the Iberian Peninsula listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The series of late prehistoric paintings in these caves provide an exceptional picture of human life in a seminal period of human cultural evolution, according to UNESCO.

The images, depicting hunting activities, combats and executions, were mostly painted in red, black and white in the caves.

Jaen province has at least 42 UNESCO World Heritage sites and along with Cordoba, Almeria, Granada, Malaga and Cadiz, is considered one of the most important areas of prehistoric archaeology.

However, according to the Speleology Federation of Andalusia (FAE), a great majority of the prehistoric caves of Andalucía are not protected and their conservation is in danger.

"A lot of these places are abandoned and need greater supervision," FAE president José Antonio Berrocal told The Local. "Although there is legislation protecting these sites in theory, there is a lack of political will."

The region needs “a system of continuous monitoring with officers coming around periodically to monitor the situation,” he said. "In some cases, closing off those caves may be the only option to protect world heritage paintings.”
http://rt.com/news/spain-thieves-caves-steal-936/
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,247
Likes
8,948
Points
284
#37
Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art
By Pallab Ghosh, Science correspondent, BBC News

Scientists have identified some of the earliest cave paintings produced by humans.
The artworks are in a rural area on the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi.
Until now, paintings this old had been confirmed in caves only in Western Europe.
Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

Australian and Indonesian scientists have dated layers of stalactite-like growths that have formed over coloured outlines of human hands.
Early artists made them by carefully blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly against the cave walls and ceilings. The oldest is at least 40,000 years old.

There are also human figures, and pictures of wild hoofed animals that are found only on the island. Dr Maxime Aubert, of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who dated the paintings found in Maros in Southern Sulawesi, explained that one of them (shown immediately below) was probably the earliest of its type.

At the top of the worn painting is a faint outline of a human hand. Below it is possibly the earliest depiction of an animal
"The minimum age for (the outline of the hand) is 39,900 years old, which makes it the oldest hand stencil in the world," said Dr Aubert.

"Next to it is a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old, and this is one of the oldest figurative depictions in the world, if not the oldest one," he told BBC News.
There are also paintings in the caves that are around 27,000 years old, which means that the inhabitants were painting for at least 13,000 years.

In addition, there are paintings in a cave in the regency of Bone, 100 km north of Maros. These cannot be dated because the stalactite-like growths used to determine the age of the art do not occur. But the researchers believe that they are probably the same age as the paintings in Maros because they are stylistically identical.

The discovery of the Indonesian cave art is important because it shows the beginnings of human intelligence as we understand it today.
Art and the ability to think of abstract concepts is what distinguishes our species from other animals - capabilities that also led us to use fire, develop the wheel and come up with the other technologies that have made our kind so successful.
Its emergence, therefore, marks one of the key moments when our species became truly human.

The dating of the art in Sulawesi will mean that ideas about when and where this pivotal moment in our evolution occurred will now have to be revised.

....

For decades, the only evidence of ancient cave art was in Spain and southern France. It led some to believe that the creative explosion that led to the art and science we know today began in Europe.
But the discovery of paintings of a similar age in Indonesia shatters this view, according to Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

"It is a really important find; it enables us to get away from this Euro-centric view of a creative explosion that was special to Europe and did not develop in other parts of the world until much later," he said.

The discovery of 40,000-year-old cave paintings at opposite ends of the globe suggests that the ability to create representational art had its origins further back in time in Africa, before modern humans spread across the rest of the world.

"That's kind of my gut feeling," says Prof Stringer. "The basis for this art was there 60,000 years ago; it may even have been there in Africa before 60,000 years ago and it spread with modern humans".

Dr Adam Brumm, who is the co-leader of the Sulawesi research, believes many well-known sites in Asia, and as far away as Australia, contain art that is extremely old but which has not yet been accurately dated.
"If Sulawesi is anything to go by, where cave art was first recorded over half a century ago but was assumed to be young, a crucial part of the human story could be right under our noses" he said.

Dr Muhammad Ramli, an archaeologist working with the Makassar branch of Indonesia's Preservation for Heritage Office, said that the Sulawesian paintings in Maros were being eroded by the pollution coming from an upsurge in local industrial activities.
"In the beginning of the 1980s, there were a lot of cave paintings on this site in the form of hand stencils, as you can see right now. Presently, a lot has been damaged.
"There is a strong necessity to conduct conservation studies in order to find the best way of preserving these sites so that the paintings may last," he told BBC News.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29415716

Pics, etc, on page.
 

PeniG

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Dec 31, 2003
Messages
2,395
Likes
201
Points
94
#38
This is of course no surprise at all to those of us who've been following big-picture archeology for awhile. If it's human, it started earlier than currently believed; and it originated while we were confined to Africa.

You don't get more human than art.
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#42
This could have gone in a few topics,

Ancient auditory illusions reflected in prehistoric art?

During the 168th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA), to be held October 27-31, 2014 at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel, Steven J. Waller, of Rock Art Acoustics, will describe several ways virtual sound images and absorbers can appear supernatural.

"Ancient mythology explained echoes from the mouths of caves as replies from spirits, so our ancestors may have made cave paintings in response to these echoes and their belief that echo spirits inhabited rocky places such as caves or canyons," explained Waller.

Just as light reflection gives an illusion of seeing yourself duplicated in a mirror, sound waves reflecting off a surface are mathematically identical to sound waves emanating from a virtual sound source behind a reflecting plane such as a large cliff face. "This can result in an auditory illusion of somebody answering you from within the rock," Waller said.

Echoes of clapping can sound similar to hoof beats, as Waller pointed out, while multiple echoes within a cavern can blur together into a thunderous reverberation that mimics the sound of a herd of stampeding hoofed animals. ...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 114714.htm
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#44
A long-term study by an international team of researchers has led to findings that suggest drawings in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave are approximately 10,000 years older than has been previously thought. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describes their study and the timeline of the cave they were able to build.

Chauvet-Pont d'Arc, in the Ardèche, southern France, has become famous for being the oldest known human decorated cave in the world. First discovered in 1994, the cave has since become a Unesco World Heritage Site—its walls are decorated with hand prints and drawings of 14 different species of animals including cave bears, wooly rhinos and several types of big cats. For many years, it was believed the cave paintings were made approximately 22,000–18,000 BC, now it appears the cave had a much longer and more varied history. In this new effort, the researchers used radio-carbon dating techniques on approximately 250 'objects' in the cave, over a span of 15 years. The objects included material used to draw animals, charcoal (from fires on the ground, in marks applied directly to the wall and from torch burns) and bones from an assortment of animals.

In analyzing the data, the researchers found they were able to create a time-line for the cave, which showed that it had been inhabited at least twice by early humans, and sometimes, by bears. They report that humans first inhabited the cave approximately 37,000 to 33,500 years ago and then again from 31,000 to 28,000 years ago. ...

http://phys.org/news/2016-04-radio-carbon-chauvet-pont-darc-cave-art.html
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#45
Cave art: Etchings hailed as 'Iberia's most spectacular'
Image copyrightAFP
Image captionHorses and goats can be seen in this portion of the 15m-long panel of etchings found in the Armintze cave, Lekeitio, in Biscay province
Cave art as much as 14,500 years old has been pronounced "the most spectacular and impressive" ever discovered on the Iberian peninsula.

About 50 etchings were found in the Basque town of Lekeitio.

They include horses, bison, goats and - in a radical departure from previously discovered Palaeolithic art in the Biscay province - two lions.

Some depictions are also much bigger than those found previously - with one horse about 150cm (4ft 11in) long.

"It is a wonder, a treasure of humanity," senior Biscay official Unai Rementeria said.

He was announcing the discovery, which was made in the Armintxe cave in May and has since been investigated by Biscay experts. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37654544
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#48
An international team of anthropologists has uncovered a 38,000-year-old engraved image in a southwestern French rockshelter—a finding that marks some of the earliest known graphic imagery found in Western Eurasia and offers insights into the nature of modern humans during this period.

"The discovery sheds new light on regional patterning of art and ornamentation across Europe at a time when the first modern humans to enter Europe dispersed westward and northward across the continent," explains NYU anthropologist Randall White, who led the excavation in France's Vézère Valley.

The findings, which appear in the journal Quaternary International, center on the early modern humans' Aurignacian culture, which existed from approximately 43,000 to 33,000 years ago.

Abri Blanchard, the French site of the recently uncovered engraving, a slab bearing a complex image of an aurochs, or wild cow, surrounded by rows of dots, was previously excavated in the early 20th century. White and his team members began their methodical exploration of remaining deposits at the site in 2011, with the discovery occurring in 2012. ...

https://phys.org/news/2017-01-anthropologists-uncover-art-masters38000-year-old.html
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#50
Hunting dogs, hanging out with humans for a long time.

(Phys.org)—A combined team of researchers from Max Planck University and the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage has documented what might be the oldest depictions of dogs by human beings. In their paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology , the team describes the wall engravings and the means by which they attempted to date them.

Prior research has suggested that humans first arrived in what is now Saudi Arabia approximately 10,000 years ago. Those first visitors were believed to be hunter-gatherers—researchers have found images of them carved into stone walls in the area. Prior research has also found evidence that people in the area domesticated animals and became herders approximately 7000 to 8000 years ago. They, too, have been depicted in stone etchings, and researchers have also found the bones of some of their livestock. Now, it appears that during the time between these two periods, people may have domesticated dogs and used them to hunt other animals for food. This new evidence is part of a collection of stone carvings the team has been studying at two sites in Saudi Arabia: Jubbah and Shuwaymis.

https://phys.org/print430475252.html
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,977
Likes
14,911
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#51
This 2016 item from National Geographic describes how some of the stenciled hands found among Egyptian cave / rock art turned out to be other than human (as originally presumed ...).

'Baby Hands' in Cave Paintings May Actually Belong to Lizards

When the site of  Wadi  Sura II was discovered in Egypt's Western Desert  in 2002, researchers were taken aback at the  thousands of decorations painted on the walls of the rock shelter  as much as  8,000 years earlier.  Not only  are there wild animals, human figures, and odd headless creatures  that have led people to nickname  it  the "Cave of the Beasts," but also hundreds of outlines  of human handprints — more than had ever been seen before at a  Saharan rock art site. 

Even  more unusual  are  outlines of 13  tiny handprints. Until the discovery of Wadi  Sura  II, the  stenciled  hands and feet of  very  small children had been seen  in  Australian rock art, but never in the Sahara.  One notable, touching  scene even features a pair of "baby" hands nestled inside  the outlines of  a larger, adult pair.   

Now it gets even odder: The tiny hands aren't even human.  ...

Wadi  Sura  II is considered  one of the greatest rock art sites of the Sahara, although it lacks the popular fame of nearby  Wadi  Sura  I, the "Cave of the Swimmers," which was discovered by Hungarian count  Láslo Almásy  in 1933 and popularized in "The English Patient."

Anthropologist  Emmanuelle Honoré  of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research  describes how she was "shocked" by the shape of the  unusually small hand outlines  when she  saw them at her first visit to Wadi  Sura  II  in 2006. "They were much smaller than human baby hands, and  the fingers were  too long," she explains.    ...

Honoré  decided to compare measurements taken from the hand  outlines  with those taken from the hands of newborn human infants (37 to 41 weeks gestational age). Since the  site samples were so  physically  small, she also included measurements taken from newborn premature babies (26 to 36 weeks gestational age).  ...

For that, the anthropologist recruited a team that  also  included medical researchers to collect the infant data  from  the neonatal unit  of  a French hospital. "If I went to a hospital and just said, 'I'm studying rock art. Are there babies available?' they'd think I'm crazy and call security on me," she laughs. 

The  results, which have just been published, show that there's an extremely low probability that the "baby" hands in the Cave of the Beasts are actually human.  ...

So if the prints  aren't human, what  are they? The positioning  of the tiny hands  and their fingers varies  from  outline to outline, which led  the research team  to  conclude they were flexible and articulated  and ruled out the possibility of a stencil fashioned from a static material like wood or clay.  ...

Honoré  initially  suspected monkey paws, but when those  proportions were also off, colleagues at the Museum of Natural History in Paris suggested she take a look at reptiles.

So far, the examples that have proportions  closest to the "baby" hands come from the forelegs of  desert monitor lizards  or, possibly, the feet of young crocodiles. (The crocodile study is still in progress.) Monitor lizards still live in the region today and are considered protective creatures by nomadic tribes in the area.  

The revelation that  the small hand images from Wadi  Sura  II  are not even human  is a big surprise for researchers who study Saharan rock art. "Animal stenciling is  mostly  considered an Australian or South American thing," Honoré explains.   ...
FULL STORY: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/160225-sahara-rock-art-stencils-egypt-caves-reptiles/
 

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
Joined
Aug 9, 2001
Messages
4,684
Likes
8,544
Points
234
#52
Earliest known drawing found on rock in South African cave: Researchers believe the pattern on the fragment of rock is 73,000 years old, but are perplexed as to what it might represent.

It lacks the grace of Da Vinci and has none of the warmth of Rubens, but the criss-crossed pattern on the chunk of rock is remarkable all the same. According to researchers who unearthed the piece, it is the earliest known drawing in the world.

Archaeologists found the marked stone fragment as they sifted through spear points and other material excavated at Blombos cave in South Africa. It has taken seven years of tests to conclude that a human made the lines with an ochre crayon 73,000 years ago.



The simple red marks adorn a flake the size of two thumbnails which appears to have broken off a grindstone cobble used to turn lumps of ochre into paint powder. The lines end so abruptly at the fragment’s edges that researchers believe the cross-hatches were originally part of a larger design drawn on the cobble.

“This is first known drawing in human history,” said Francesco d’Errico, a researcher on the team at the University of Bordeaux. “What does it mean? I don’t know. What I do know is that what can look very abstract to us could mean something to the people in the traditional society who produced it.”

Until now, the oldest known drawings have been the more impressive and extensive works that cover cave walls in El Castillo in Spain and Maros in Sulawesi, Indonesia. But those abstract and figurative images were made more recently, 40,000 years ago at most.

Located on the southern tip of South Africa, about 300km east of Cape Town, Blombos cave has proved a treasure trove of ancient human artefacts from 70,000 to 100,000 years old. Excavations have uncovered painted shell beads, double-sided spear points, and pieces of ochre engraved with the same cross-hatched design as found on the chunk of grindstone. The pattern also features at the nearby younger sites of Diepkloof and Klipdrift, where archaeologists found it engraved on ostrich egg shells.

The patterned stone from Blombos was found by chance in 2011 as researchers washed ash and dirt from spear points and other artefacts uncovered at the site.

https://www.theguardian.com/science...n-drawing-found-on-rock-in-south-african-cave

Wikipedia page on Blombos Cave.

maximus otter
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#53
New findings at a previously explored site.

New Stone Age paintings have been found on a rock face by a sprawling lake system in eastern Finland.

The red-painted stripes and hand markings were partially hidden under lichen on Tikaskaarteenvuori hill near the village of Anttola, which lies on the shore of Lake Luonteri, the Yle public broadcaster reports.

Luonteri is part of the Saimaa lake system, where Stone Age paintings were discovered in the 1990s, but the newly-found images are about five metres (16ft) lower down the rock face. Archaeologist Timo Sepänmaa of the Museum of Central Finland has been studying the new art works, and told Yle that their position shows that "they are a couple of thousand years younger than the earlier finds".

https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-46363629
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#54
An international team, led by an archaeologist from the University of Southampton and the University of Bordeaux, has revealed the first example of Palaeolithic figurative cave art found in the Balkan Peninsula.

Dr. Aitor Ruiz-Redondo worked with researchers from the universities of Cantabria (Spain), Newfoundland (Canada), Zagreb (Croatia) and the Archaeological Museum of Istria (Croatia) to study the paintings, which could be up to 34,000 years old. The cave art was first discovered in 2010 in Romualdova Pe?ina ('Romuald's cave') at Istria in Croatia, when Darko Komšo, Director of the Archaeological Museum of Istria, noticed the existence of the remains of a red colour in a deep part of the cave.

https://phys.org/news/2019-04-archaeologists-prehistoric-figurative-cave-art.html
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#55
Early use of the Cherokee syllabary

There are places where the world of the living brushes up against the world of the spirits.

For the Cherokee of the southeastern United States, those places are caves, where the heat of day gives way to the coolness of damp earth, and the light of the sun is exchanged for the darkness of deep, timeless spaces.

Now, researchers exploring several caves near the Alabama-Georgia border have discovered, for the first time, inscriptions describing sacred rituals and reaching out to ancestors, all in the Cherokee script invented by prominent Native American polymath Sequoyah before his people were forcibly moved to western reservations in the 1830s.

The Cherokee syllabary, which consists of 85 characters—one for each syllable in the Cherokee language—spread rapidly after its invention around 1821. It was used to communicate among tribes, commemorate events, and create the first newspaper published by Native Americans in the United States.

Now, it appears tribal members were also using this new script to record sacred events in the region’s caves, researchers report today in Antiquity. In 2006, archaeologists found a set of charcoal inscriptions in a chamber at the end of the 1.67-kilometer-deep Manitou Cave near Fort Payne, Alabama, at the head of an underground stream.

But it wasn’t until several years later that it was translated with the help of Cherokee scholars: It commemorated a sacred game of stickball—similar to modern-day lacrosse—played on 30 April 1828. The game involved extensive preparations, including prayer, meditation, and a ritual cleansing known as “going to water.” ...

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/201...ly_2019-04-10&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2761160
 
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
48,504
Likes
20,284
Points
284
Location
Eblana
#56
Some lesser known (internationally) cave paintings.

Drawn across the rock in bold strokes of ochre, the paintings have blurred with time but can still steal the breath. Alive with movement, their forms are instantly recognisable: a mammoth rolling forward, a trotting horse, a stocky bison.

These works, deep in a limestone cave in Russia’s southern republic of Bashkortostan, are thought to be mostly between 17,000 and 19,000 years old. Beyond the specialists who come to inspect them, they are barely known to the outside world, in contrast to Palaeolithic paintings in the Altamira and Lascaux caves in Spain and France. Both of those caves are staples of National Geographic and other glossy magazines. Werner Herzog made famous the panthers and bears on the walls of the Chauvet Cave in the Ardeche, with his film Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Tens of thousands of mostly Russian visitors come every year to visit the Kapova cave where the Bashkortostan paintings are situated, in the Shulgan-Tash nature reserve. To reach it requires a lengthy drive down a stone-strewn track and a walk to the 100ft arc of limestone that forms the entrance to the cave.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/...home-to-remarkable-pre-historic-art-67sq0vdh6
 
Top