Paleolithic Cave Art

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Paleolithic Cave Art

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Table of Contents


Discussion & Analysis3

Paleolithic art3


The Lascaux cave4

Exemplers of Paleolithic art6

Other Prominent Cave Art Locations8

Portrayal of Animal, Now Endangered or Extinct8

Motive behind the Paleolithic Cave Art10



Paleolithic Cave Art


This research paper intends to analyze Paleolithic art found by archeologists all around the world, predominantly in Europe, Australia, Africa, and Asia. The major focus of this study is to gain more insight of the beautiful cave paintings discovered in France and Spain, Russia and South Africa and Eastern Europe. Drawing upon various archaeological works, this study also examines numerous Paleolithic art and the rationale behind the creation of this art.

Discussion & Analysis

Paleolithic art

Paleolithic art is the “cave art” of southwestern Europe, until about 10,000 B.C., in the Upper Paleolithic period. (Whitney, 1987, p. 111) Paleolithic cave art is an outstanding documentation of early human symbolic behavior. (Pike et. al., 2012, p. 1409) Naturalistic cave paintings of deer, bison, and hunting scenes are typical works. The favorite subjects were animals (particularly bull, bison and horses, although fewer in number, there are deer, bears, goats too). Altamira and Lascaux, the best-known surviving examples exist. These paintings are contemporaneous with the earliest phases of a gradual transition to a more temperate climate from glaciations—a change feature of the late Pleistocene era.


The first significant cave paintings was discovered by Marcellino de Sautuola, at Altamira, Spain, in 1875. The findings were so surprising and in contradiction of popular notion regarding early and pre-humans that it was refused by most experts to accept them as Paleolithic. Shortly, analogous un-coverings at Les Eyzies, France, around 1900, were at last acknowledged and distinguished as one of the most startling and amazing unparalleled archaeological discoveries. Throughout the twentieth century, a continuing sequence of similar finds has kept on. Perhaps the findings at Lascaux, France, in 1940, were the famous ones.

The Lascaux cave

Four teenage boys discovered the Lascaux cave in September 1940, and the French archaeologist Henri-Edouard-Prosper Breuil first studied it. At this site, a number of the most gripping and revealing cave paintings have been recorded. The dimensions and layout are intrinsically remarkable. Comprising of a main cavern out measuring around 66 feet wide and 16 feet high, there are lots of very steep galleries. With drawn, engraved, and painted designs, all of the walls are decorated amazingly. Some 600 drawn and painted animals and symbols have been found by archaeologists, together with almost 1,500 engravings.

On a light background, the paintings seem to have been made, in different shades of brown, red, yellow, and black. Four gigantic (more than 16 feet in length) aurochs are the most remarkable pictures among these paintings. Aurochs are an extinct species of wild ox. A strange two- horned animal, that is also nicknamed as the "unicorn" misleadingly, is also depicted in the paintings. It was believed by some researchers that this painting of strange animal was meant to portray a mythical creature. A number of other species are dispersed on the walls, counting great herds of horses and bison, red ...
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