The First Cave Art? (30,000 Years Old)

April 21, 2019


Inside of a cave overlooking the blue-green waters of Croatia’s northern coast, archaeologists have found wall paintings that date back to the Upper Paleolithic period. While prehistoric cave art is plentiful in western Europe, the discovery marks the first time cave art of this age has been documented in the Balkans. The reddish paintings, which depict a bison and ibex, could have been created more than 30,000 years ago, scientists reported Wednesday (April 10, 2019) in the journal Antiquity.


The paintings were documented inside Romualdova Pećina, a deep cave extending to a depth of 360 feet (110 meters) along a canyon-like estuary known as the Limski Kanal. During the Upper Paleolithic period, Europe would have been colder than it is today and sea levels were lower. So anyone who took shelter in Romualdova Cave would have looked out onto a river that flowed toward a vast, fertile plain (where the Adriatic Sea is today).

The researchers are still trying to resolve the age of the artworks, and they have two hypotheses. One is that the paintings were created between 34,000 and 31,000 years ago, during the early Upper Paleolithic, which would fit well with the style of the paintings and some archaeological evidence found in the caves, the researchers said. Based on the age of charcoal samples excavated beneath the paintings. The other possibility is that the artworks date to a later Upper Paleolithic period, called the Epigravettian, around 17,000 years ago. The researchers hope future excavation and analysis will settle the age of the art. At least stylistically, Clottes thought the paintings could be fairly old, perhaps contemporary with 30,000-year-old art found in the Coliboaia cave in Romania. Margaret Conkey, a cave art expert and a UC Berkeley professor emerita of anthropology who wasn’t involved in the study, said this new finding and others “all point to the fact that there is no one origin for the production of visual images and ‘art.'”

Expanding the Upper Paleolithic cave art to a new area is very interesting, because it implies linking the culture of the groups that painted Romualdova with cultural features from groups well documented in Spain, France and Italy.”

Read More in Live Science

It amazes me how beautiful these cave art paintings are. On that note, I am also happy to share my latest creation with you herein:


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