The discovery of Chauvet cave, at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc (Ardèche), in 1994, was an important event for our knowledge of palaeolithic parietal art as a whole. Its painted and engraved figures, thanks to their number (425 graphic units), and their excellent state of preservation, provide a documentary thesaurus comparable to that of the greatest sites known, and far beyond what had already been found in the group of Rhône valley caves (Ardèche and Gard). But its study – when one places it in its natural regional, cultural and thematic framework – makes it impossible to see it as an isolated entity of astonishing precocity. This needs to be reconsidered, and the affinities that our research has brought to light are clearly incompatible with the very early age which has been attributed to it. And if one extends this examination to the whole of the Franco-Cantabrian domain, the conclusion is inescapable: although Chauvet cave displays some unique characteristics (like every decorated cave), it belongs to an evolved phase of parietal art that is far removed from the motifs of its origins (known from art on blocks and on shelter walls dated by stratigraphy to the Aurignacian, in France and Cantabrian Spain). The majority of its works are therefore to be placed, quite normally, within the framework of the well-defined artistic creations of the Gravettian and Solutrean. Moreover, this phase of the Middle Upper Palaeolithic (26,000–18,000) coincides with a particularly intensive and diversified local human occupation, unknown in earlier periods and far less dense afterwards in the Magdalenian. A detailed critique of the treatment of the samples subjected to AMS radiocarbon dating makes it impossible to retain the very early age (36,000 cal BP) attributed by some authors to the painted and engraved figures of Chauvet cave.
Category Archives: rock art
Source: Australian Geographic.
|Source: El Universal[es], which has many more photos.|
In the particular case of La Pintada there are many markings of astronomical type, spots where it is indicated that the Sun illuminates in certain time of the year, signaling a date in their calendar. That way they knew that, when the Sun hit one of those marks, it was time to collect the pitahaya or that the rain period was nearing.
Source: El Universal[es] (includes a very beautiful photo-gallery).
- a large and rather high cliff;
- a cavity, cave, overhang or hole around the foot of the cliff;
- a main coloured (red-yellow to red-brown) wide strip pouring out, or reaching down to the cavity;
- a (facultative) step-bank (coral or karst platform) at the foot.
Update (Feb 24): after being down for days, causing perplexity among some readers and myself, the WAC source site is up again. Exactly as it was four days ago. Just in case this time I’ll upload the images here.
Decors comprise petroglyph’s in various forms, such as engravings,
bruising, pecking and pictographs in various colours, viz red, various
shades of red, white, black and green. The pictographs or paintings
usually illustrate human, animal, bird, tree and abstract geometric
figures and are depicted by stick figures, outlines, solid and X-ray
figures. he engravings usually exhibit elements of natural world as well
as abstract themes. The decorated shelters are spread in an area of
approximately 40 square kilometres, Sahu said.
|Depictions of the Wondjina rain spirits
(CC by Whinging Pom)
AbstractThe Kimberley region of northwest Australia contains one of the World’s largest collections of rock art characterised by two distinct art forms; the fine featured anthropomorphic figures of the Gwion Gwion or Bradshaw paintings, and broad stroke Wandjina figures. Luminescence dating of mud wasp nests overlying Gwion Gwion paintings has confirmed an age of at least 17,000 yrs B.P. with the most recent dates for these paintings from around the mid-Holocene (5000 to 7000 yrs B.P.). Radiocarbon dating indicates that the Wandjina rock art then emerged around 3800 to 4000 yrs B.P. following a hiatus of at least 1200 yrs. Here we show that a mid-Holocene ENSO forced collapse of the Australian summer monsoon and ensuing mega-drought spanning approximately 1500 yrs was the likely catalyst of this change in rock art. The severity of the drought we believe was enhanced through positive feedbacks triggered by change in land surface condition and increased aerosol loading of the atmosphere leading to a weakening or failure of monsoon rains. This confirms that pre-historic aboriginal cultures experienced catastrophic upheaval due to rapid natural climate variability and that current abundant seasonal water supplies may fail again if significant change in ENSO occurs.
|The damaged relic (source)|
Update: the Government of Morocco denies the claim with strange wording
“This kind of incident, contrary to our values, cannot take place in
Morocco,” it said, adding that an investigation carried out with local
and regional authorities had showed that the claims were unfounded.
such sites “can suffer, like elsewhere, the effects of natural and even
human degradation, sometimes through vandalism and trafficking.”
Update (Oct 25):
Dalouh (see comments) has been gathering some more info on the matter from Arabic language sources in Facebook and it would seem that the locals chased out the fundamentalist vandals preventing greater damage, still:
|Above: damage stone, below: original|