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Europe: The oldest drawings of Neanderthals have been found

Europe: The oldest drawings of Neanderthals have been found


Ancient patterns have been known on the walls of the La Roche-Cotard cave in France for quite some time. Now, a research team has found that the wall paintings are more than 57,000 years old and are Neanderthal paintings, making them the oldest Neanderthal paintings in Europe.

As early as 2008, finger-like etchings and traces of red ocher on the walls of the La Roche-Coutard cave in France’s Loire Valley were identified as prehistoric marks that must have been made by man. However, it has not yet been possible to clarify who left these drawings.

A team about the archaeologist Jean Claude Marquet From the University of Tours in France, they measured these patterns in the cave again and tried to understand the creation of artworks from early human history using experiments.

Jean-Claude Marquet, CC-BY 4.0

Caves in the Roche Cotard Cave

To do this, the researchers copied inscriptions found in another nearby cave with very similar petroglyphs using fingers, bone, wood, parts of deer antlers and flint, but also metal.

The artworks were created consciously

The result of these experiments was now In “PLOS ONE” magazine published. Thus, the patterns on the cave wall are by no means accidental – caused by animals or during previous excavations. They clearly suggest well-thought-out and consciously creative works of art.

Further investigations into the rock deposits at La Roche-Cotard revealed that the cave was completely enclosed by sedimentation some 57,000 years ago and was inaccessible until its rediscovery in the 19th century. According to Marquet, this is unequivocal evidence that the cave drawings were created by Neanderthals. The successor to Neanderthals, Homo sapiens, was not found in Western Europe for the first time until about 3,000 years later. An expert in prehistoric archeology estimates that the cave drawings may have been made between 57,000 and 75,000 years ago.

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