NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC | by Michael Greshko
World’s Oldest Cave Art Found—And Neanderthals Made It.
The findings suggest that Neanderthals and modern humans had the same cognitive abilities. In a cave in Spain, scientists found this ladder shape made of red horizontal and vertical lines. The artwork dates to more than 64,000 years ago, suggesting it was created by Neanderthals. Long before Picasso, ancient artists in what is now Spain were making creative works of their own, mixing pigments, crafting beads out of seashells, and painting murals on cave walls. The twist? These artistic innovators were probably Neanderthals.
Dated to 65,000 years ago, the cave paintings and shell beads are the first works of art dated to the time of Neanderthals, and they include the oldest cave art ever found. In two new studies, published Thursday in Science and Science Advances, researchers lay out the case that these works of art predate the arrival of modern Homo sapiens to Europe, which means someone else must have created them.In three caves scattered across Spain, researchers found more than a dozen examples of wall paintings that are more than 65,000 years old. At Cueva de los Aviones, a cave in southeastern Spain, researchers also found perforated seashell beads and pigments that are at least 115,000 years old…read more
Photograph by P. Saura