Cave art, in general, refers to the countless paintings and engravings discovered in caves and shelters going back to the Ice Age (Upper Paleolithic), around 40,000 to 14,000 years ago. Also see rock art. Art from the caves... of Europe is mostly confined to regions such as Spain, France, Germany, and Italy. Those of Asia are found in locations such as India, China, and Mongolia.
Some archaeologists believe that ancient humans used caves for religious purposes because many images are found inside them. These include paintings of animals, people, and geometric designs used by ancient peoples to pray to their gods.
The word "cave" comes from the Latin cavelleus, which means "dwelling under a roof," probably referring to a shelter built over the bones of ancestors.
Around 15,000 years ago, modern humans started to settle in Europe and North America. They came from areas where modern technology exists today, such as Africa. The first Americans arrived from Asia about 20,000 years ago. So, art has been found in all parts of the world, except for Antarctica.
Early American artists used shells, stones, and bones as tools to create artwork. They also used colors from plants to decorate their objects.
Cave art, also known as parietal art or cave paintings, refers to the ornamentation of the walls of rock shelters and caves across the world. Upper Paleolithic Europe has the most well-known sites. Lower Paleolithic Africa has some notable examples as well.
People have been creating art for a long time; evidence of this can be found in ancient cave paintings around the world. The oldest known paintings (about 30,000 years old) were created by members of the species Homo sapiens in South Africa. They are thought to be inspired by animals killed by early humans for food or clothing.
In addition to being interesting to look at, the art in these places has scientific value too. The colors used in the paintings represent the values that light will take when it travels through a medium. For example, red is the only color capable of representing all the values of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Other colors may be used instead. This is because human vision is limited to about five hundred different wavelengths of light. Anything beyond this range must be made up of several colors simultaneously seen by the eye. For this reason, red is very important in painting.
There are two main types of cave paintings: linear and non-linear. Linear paintings are arranged in lines on the wall and follow a pattern or rule.
This is referred to as cave art. During the Palaeolithic Period, 325 million to 10,000 years ago, it was painted on the walls of caves throughout Europe and Asia. The oldest known paintings are in Spain's Las Cuevas de la Mora, which are about 30,000 years old.
The earliest evidence of human presence in what is now considered North America dates back 13,000 years. Although some archaeologists believe that Native Americans may have been responsible for some of the more recent artwork found in Europe, such as that in the Pyrenees mountain range in France, most experts agree that the cultures were separate from one another.
Cave art continues to be discovered today in the regions where it was originally found. Some examples include a bear with a hand carved out of its side in the French Ardennes region and a horse in Kentucky named "Little Spirit" because of its resemblance to other horses created by early humans.
Cave painters used ochre (a red pigment derived from rocks) and charcoal to create their images. They also used animal bones as tools to help them paint better or even to make needles for sewing clothing. The people who made these drawings must have had a way to move themselves into positions that allowed them to use these materials to create their pictures.
These creative forefathers were most likely Neanderthals. The cave paintings and shell beads, which date back 65,000 years, are the first pieces of art dating to the period of the Neanderthals, and they contain the oldest cave art yet discovered. Modern humans and Neanderthals lived side by side in Europe at that time, so it's possible that these artists were not very different from us except that they were more muscular and had black hair. But since then, scientists have found many examples of ancient art that can only be produced by humans: sharp sticks with stones attached, carved bones, and even miniature painted caves.
Neanderthals went extinct about 30,000 years ago, probably because of a changing climate. Some scientists think that we drove them out of their territory and out of existence, but others believe that they died off due to natural causes. After they disappeared, modern humans migrated into their territory and took over their jobs.
But despite this history of conflict, there is evidence that some modern humans actually married into the family of a Neanderthal, so they did not destroy each other's lives completely. Scientists also suspect that some Neanderthals may have interbred with modern humans, which would have created a new species.