Prehistoric Cave Art Found Hidden In Graffiti

Posted: Nov 16 2018, 10:44am CST | by , Updated: Nov 16 2018, 10:53am CST , in Latest Science News


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Prehistoric Cave Art Found Hidden in Graffiti
Drawing of a prehistoric deer or reindeer in the Agneux II cave. Credit: University of Tübingen

The images of a horse and prehistoric deer date as far back as 12,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have discovered two prehistoric drawings in cave walls located in eastern France. The drawings, which consist of a horse’s head and a reindeer, are at least 12,000 years old and offer rich evidence of the role art played in the daily lives of early humans. However, the drawings remained hidden for more than a hundred of years under graffiti.

Researchers have long suspected that the caves in eastern France contain prehistoric drawings. They were especially interested in southern Burgundy ‒ a region in which Neandertals and modern humans encountered each other.

“Because the frequency of palaeolithic sites is particularly high here, researchers have suspected for some time that there would be a cave with paintings in it.” Professor Harald Floss from University of Tübingen in Germany said.

The paintings were discovered in the caves called Grottes d'Agneux. Since they were covered with graffitti from the 16th to 19th centuries, archaeologists used special scanning techniques to reconstruct the original works underneath the layers. Then, they used charcoal found in the caves in order to determine the age of drawings. Using carbon dating, researchers determined that both pieces are approximately 12000 years old and belonged to Upper Palaeolithic period. The drawings were created using stone tools.

The find is significant because it indicates that Neanderthals and modern humans must have co-existed in Europe for several thousand years and influenced each other in many ways. The cave art provides new clues to how they met.

“Early modern humans were guided by rivers as they spread across the continent,” said Floss. “They may have migrated here from the east via the Danube and from the south via the Rhône. Our data suggest that Neandertals and early modern humans could have met here in eastern France.”

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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