A study published last Monday finally closes the debate on whether sophisticated paintings of the animals in the Chauvet cave (France) are certainly the oldest of its kind in the world. The study has been published in the American journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”And shows that, indeed, they are the oldest.
The delicate curves and fine details in the drawings of the bears, rhinos and horses in Chauvet cave in southern France they are so advanced that some scholars thought they would date back 12,000 to 17,000 years. If so, the tracings would be situated as relics of the Magdalena culture, in which our ancestors used stone and bone tools to create an evolutionary art that improved with the passage of time and practice.
However, scientists have shown by radiocarbon tests on the rocks and on the bones of the animals of the Chauvet cave that the paintings are older, probably from ago 30,000 or 32,000 years ago. Thus the new evidence would settle the theories of those who think ancient art had even more primitive forms.
French scientists have confirmed that the paintings are the oldest and most elaborate ever discovered to date.. Their findings are based on a geomorphological analysis of the rocky surfaces at the entrance to the cave.
Research shows that an overhang in the rock began to collapse 29,000 years ago and has been doing so even more over time, sealing the entrance 21,000 years ago. This would mean that the paintings had to have been done before that, probably by the people of the Aurignacian culture, who lived between 28,000 and 40,000 years ago.
The study confirms that the Chauvet cave drawings They are the oldest and most elaborate that have been discovered so far, when put together with the dates established by the radiocarbon test on the human and animal occupation of the cave.
According to the author of the research, Benjamin Sadier, the findings put an end to any debate about when the drawings may have been made: “What our work shows is that the method of dating based on style is no longer valid. By proving that this cave was closed 21,500 years ago, we completely eradicated the hypothesis of a more recent cave painting and also confirmed that the cave's age is consistent with radiocarbon dating.”.
Sadier thinks that before they were “pretty sure" from the old age of paintings, but now they are "completely safe”: “It is a way of collecting independent evidence, which means that we can extract the age of the cave by testing geological reasons, rather than archaeological”.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.