Azara Blog: Supposedly more cave art discovered in France

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Date published: 2006/02/06

The BBC says:

A French caver has discovered prehistoric cave art believed to date back 27,000 years - older than the famous Lascaux paintings.

Gerard Jourdy, 63, said he found human and animal remains in the chamber in the Vilhonneur forest, in caves once used to dispose of animal carcasses.

The paintings included a hand in cobalt blue, he told AFP news agency.

The discovery was made in November, but kept secret while initial examinations were carried out.

Mr Jourdy also said he saw a sculpture of a face made from a stalactite - which would be a scientific first for the era, but experts were dubious about this claim, AFP says.
The French culture ministry confirmed the findings, but a spokesman said that although the discovery was of interest, the paintings were not as spectacular as those in the Cosquer and Chauvet caves in the Ardeche.

The Lascaux Caves, in the Dordogne, are among the best known and most important prehistoric sites of Stone Age cave art.

Experts think the caves were used for hunting rituals and shamanistic rites, and it is thought that the first paintings were done some 17,000 years ago.

It's too early to tell but it could be an interesting new discovery. But the most amusing thing about the article is the statement about the existing Dordogne caves: "experts think the caves were used for hunting rituals and shamanistic rites". Anything in archaeology that an "expert" cannot give a reasonable explanation about always ends up as being classified as some kind of (usually religious) ritual. Perhaps the pre-historic people were just bored and so decided to put lots of graffiti on the walls. You can just imagine in 10000 years some archaeologists stumbling over a large pile of McDonald's litter and them earnestly telling the world it was obviously a site of great religious significance, with the red referring to blood and the yellow referring to the sun.

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