How Old Are the Oldest Paintings Known?

According to stories, four boys and their dog, playing on a mountainside in Lescaux, France, near the border between France and Spain, were caught in the rain and found shelter in a cave. There, they discovered paintings on the walls. When scientists tested this cave art and similar cave art found in southern Spain, Portugal, and Sicily, they discovered it to date from 30,000 to 10,000 B.C., or from the time called the Upper Paleolithic Period, when the Cro-Magnon man lived.

Cro-Magnon people used pigments from the earth for their colors, colors which were in excellent condition when the caves were first opened up. However, as more and more light entered the caves, these colors began to fade.

This cave art represented things which were of great importance in the life of Cro-Magnon man, namely animals, since animals were the main sources of his food and clothing. Some cave art also depicted human figures along with animals, figures of the hunters who killed the beasts.

You may wonder why these pre-historic people painted at all, No one really knows, but scientists think that early man might have believed that painting likenesses of animals and men gave them the power to communicate with their gods in religious ceremonies, or perhaps that it made them better hunters, or perhaps that it gave them the courage and strength of the animals they painted.

Whatever the reasons were, these cave paintings stand as man’s earliest recorded history!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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