Art, creativity, and storytelling have been a part of life for some time. This is not something people just say without having any proof. All you need to do is study art for a bit, and you’ll find out about cave art.
It’s one of the oldest examples of art and storytelling if you were wondering how important art has been for humanity.
Scientists continue to find ancient cave art, and sometimes, they find even older artwork. So, in essence, there’s no way to say if people have found the oldest piece in existence yet.
The good thing is technology is getting more effective and is helping scientists predict how old a piece might be. Tech is also making it easier for scientists to explore cave networks that might have been impossible to explore before.
How was cave art made?
To understand how cave art was made, you need to know that the pigments used in these works were usually red or black. Those colors were accessible to people back in those days. The red was probably some type of iron oxide like hematite. The black probably came from regular charcoal.
Some of the works of art also had carvings etched into them. This was normally done with sharpened rocks.
Normally, the caves were mostly made out of limestone because this type of stone is easy to carve into. This tells you how elaborate their attempts at art were. The people worked hard to plan when and how to create each art piece.
Discovering cave art
Some of the oldest examples of this art were discovered in Europe. It’s there where you’ll find art pieces dating back between 40,000 to 14,000 years, which is pretty old.
One of the oldest and most popular cave art pieces was in a cave in the north part of Spain. What you see are bison and horses, which tells you what people used to see every day back in those days. The piece in the Altamira Cave is about 36,500 years old.
You should know that people only believed these pieces of art to be some of the oldest, but the reality is there are older examples out there. There are cave drawings that could date back 65,000 years. The work wasn’t created by human beings or the homo sapiens. The Neanderthals might have created those older pieces.
These older pieces haven’t been fully confirmed, which is the reason they don’t hold the title for being the oldest examples of cave art, but everyone knows they exist. The only thing scientists are waiting for is confirmation.
Cave art meant a lot to the people who created them. It’s something they dedicated a lot of time and resources to.
One example of how important art must have been for the people in those days was found in the west part of France back in 1940. A dog fell into a hole and got stuck in one of the caves in this region.
The owners found a way in and rescued their dog but also found one of the most stunning pieces of cave art ever found. There were animals on the piece. You’ll find deer, bull, and horses on the cave art that is about 17,000 years old.
It may not be the oldest piece out there, but what makes this piece amazing is how large these animals are. The bull alone is about 17 feet long, which tells you how much work these folks invested in their pieces.
Discovering storytelling in caves
To showcase how quickly the scientific world continues to find new pieces that change the way people understand the history of cave art, the recent discovery in 2019 should be highlighted.
The painting in Indonesia is one of the oldest examples of storytelling through cave art. The caves in this region are complex, so finding these pieces was a feat on its own. The caves are in the Bantimurung District. The cave art is about 44,000 years old, and the focus of the story involves hunting.
It seems like little human beings were hunting some type of animal that was native to their region.
The animals were either buffalo or pigs; the specificity of the animal couldn’t be determined. Some of the human beings hunting these animals had tails. In essence, the art piece gave people one of the earliest examples of fantasy or science fiction.
There’s no way of telling what else will be unearthed, but scientists and people around the world continue to be enthralled by the endless possibilities.