Top 7 Major Prehistoric Cave Paintings in the World

The pre-historic paintings show the sign of the earliest human artifacts, the evidence of workmanship with artistic thought. Well, this all was dated back to approximately 40,000 years ago, in the upper Paleolithic era. But it is also possible that those artifacts began even earlier than that. isn’t it fascinating to know about the earliest known human drawings or paintings which are dated more than 73000 years old? But the earliest paintings known for the 43000 years old artifacts are believed to be the earliest known human paintings. Let’s learn about the seven most fascinating pre-historic paintings in the world.

The finding of the earliest human artifacts represents the earliest surviving evidence of the artistic instinct in early humanity and has been found on every continent. Experts often found that rock art features stylized animals, hand prints, and geometric symbols that are carved into the rock or painted in natural pigments like ochre and charcoal.

1. The Altamira Cave Paintings, Spain– one of the great bison paintings in Altamira, Spain. The rock art at Altamira, found in Spain was the first in the world to be considered prehistoric artwork. Altamira’s first explorers were an amateur archaeologists, in fact, it was 12-year-old Maria who looked up at the cave’s ceiling and discovered a series of large bison paintings. Many other living animal paintings and engravings were found. Archaeology was a very new field of study at the time, it is said that prehistoric humans were considered capable of making any kind of sophisticated art.

The Altamira Cave Paintings, Spain

2. Lascaux, France– this prehistoric art was Discovered in 1940 by some kids with their dog, the Lascaux caves represented the motherlode of European rock art. French priests and amateur prehistorians called it the Sistine Chapel of Prehistory. The painting that has been found was believed to be dated more than 30,000 years ago, the rock art at Lascaux is still probably the most famous in the world. Those prehistoric painters were the masters of their art forms. Their impact comes across even through the virtual image of the reproduced caves. There is also a mysterious human-animal in the hybrid figure, which is called bird man. Since the time when the artifacts were discovered, the Lascaux caves became famous in the middle of World War II.

Lascaux, France

3. The Apollo 11 Cave Stones, Namibia– the Rock art abounds in Africa, with at least 100,000 sites discovered from prehistory through to the 19th century. Apart from this, there have been some great findings that are totally unsurprising when you consider that Africa is thought to be the origin of all humanity. Well, one such finding is the Apollo 11 cave stones, found in Namibia. Oh wait, don’t think that it is related to Apollo 11 Nasa Moon Mission, it is totally unrelated to that. These paintings are found on a set of granite slabs detached from a permanent rock surface. There are seven small slabs in total, and all of them represent six animals drawn in charcoal, ochre, and white pigment together. There is a zebra and rhino on an unidentified quadruped in two pieces and three more stones with faint and indeterminate imagery. These artifacts have been dated to about approximately 25,000 years ago.

The Apollo 11 Cave Stones, Namibia

4. Kakadu National Park and Other Rock Art Sites, Australia– Some of the Gwion rock art paintings, in the Kimberley region of Australia. The Humans must have lived in the area for about 60,000 years which is now called Kakadu National Park. The surviving rock art is 25,000 years old approximately, the last painting before the area became a national park and was made in 1972 by an aboriginal artist named Nayombolmi. There have been different styles and subjects of different periods, but the paintings often represent a mode of representation that has been termed the X-Ray Style, in which both external features and internal ones appear on the same figures. With such an incredibly long history of art, Kakadu represents some fantastic evidence for a millennium of climate change in the area as animals now extinct in the area appear in the paintings. A similar phenomenon has been observed in places like the Sahara, where plants and animals in rock art are remains of a time when the area was densely lush and green and was not a desert at all.

Kakadu National Park and Other Rock Art Sites, Australia

5. The Lower Pecos Rock Art in Texas and Mexico– the Lowe Pecos Rock Art is a young art that has been found, which is around 4000 years old. These cave paintings have all the elements of the best cave art in the world. There are elaborated headdresses, atlatls, and other attributes, these anthropomorphic are believed to have shamans and possibly talk about the event of shamanic trances. Animals and geometric symbols appear as well, and their imagery has been thought to be linked to myths and customs from the native cultures of the nearby areas, including rituals involving hallucinogenic Peyote and Mescal. However, there is no hard evidence that the cave painters, termed the Peoples of the Pecos, followed the same beliefs as later groups, as links between rock art and the modern native traditions are not as strong here as those at that time found in Australia.

The Lower Pecos Rock Art in Texas and Mexico

6. Cueva de las Manos, Argentina– Handprints or reverse handprints, bare rock hand silhouettes surrounded by a cloud of colored paint disbursed via blowpipes paintings have been found and are a common feature of cave art, that is found in multiple locations and time periods. They appear with other animal or geometric imagery across the world. However, there is one site that has hundreds of prehistoric handprints, called the Cave of Hands (Cueva de las Manos) in Patagonia, Argentina, which contains about 830 handprints and reverse handprints found together with the images of hunting scenes, people, llamas, and more. However, the paintings have been dated back 9,000 years ago. Images of the Cueva de las Manos or Caves of the hands, with colorful handprints covering every surface, and are dynamic, fascinating, and rather moving.

Cueva de las Manos, Argentina

7. Sulawesi and Borneo, Indonesia– the rock art paintings that are found in the Maros-Pangkep caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are dated between 40,000 – 45,000 years ago in the year 2014. Which represents the animal forms and handprints In 2018, human and animal paintings of approximately of the same age were found in Borneo, and in 2021, a painting of a native Indonesian pig in the Leang Tedongnge cave, then again in Sulawasi, after which it came to light. It is now considered to be one of the oldest known representational paintings in the world. In this 21st century, the findings have been the first to make scholars get serious about the possibility that humans’ first-ever art was not necessarily born in the caves of western Europe.

Sulawesi and Borneo, Indonesia

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