Wednesday , December 1 2021

What Prehistoric Cave Paintings Reveal About Early Human Life

What does the oldest known art in the world tell us about the people who created it? Images painted, drawn or carved onto rocks and cave walls—which have been found across the globe—reflect one of humans’ earliest forms of communication, with possible connections to language development. The earlest known images often appear abstract, and may have been symbolic, while later ones depicted animals, people and hybrid figures that perhaps carried some kind of spiritual significance.

The oldest known prehistoric art wasn’t created in a cave. Drawn on a rock face in South Africa 73,000 years ago, it predates any known cave art. However, caves themselves help to protect and preserve the art on their walls, making them rich historical records for archaeologists to study. And because humans added to cave art over time, many have layers—depicting an evolution in artistic expression.

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