Map of Decorated Caves in Western Europe



A map of decorated caves in western Europe with the names of a few notable or outlying sites. The broken line encloses caves decorated in the distinctive 'Mediterranean Style' which seems to have been little influenced by the master artists of France and Spain. It often features simple, stark animal representations together with quite elaborate geometrical designs. There are important caves decorated in the Mediterranean style in southeast Spain, the Ardèche canyons in southern France, the heel of Italy, and in Sicily.

There are now some 200 Painted caves known in southern France and northern Spain. Several new discoveries in the remote Spanish Basque country appear to be closing the gap between these two main regional groups which, in any case, certainly share many correspondences of style and theme.,,,



Lascaux Cave- Dordogne








Lascaux Cave, Southern France - Cave Paintings 30000 BC


The Dordogne, France: Lascaux's Prehistoric Cave Paintings ( 4:33 mins)

From about 18,000 to 10,000 b.c., long before Stonehenge and the pyramids, back when mammoths and saber-toothed cats still roamed the earth, prehistoric people painted deep inside caves in what is today the Dordogne region of France. These cave paintings are huge and sophisticated projects executed by artists and supported by an impressive culture — the Magdalenians.


The Lascaux Caves. Prehistorical Artwork – France (6:30  mins)









Chauvet Cave - France


At 31,000 years old, Chauvet Cave is the oldest cave painting in the world yet discovered.Located in the Pont-d'Arc Valley of Ardèche, France, the cave extends nearly 500 meters into the earth, with two main rooms separated by a narrow hallway. The cave's art is complex and thematically exciting, with groups of lions and horses in action poses: too complex to fit into theories of how cave paintings evolved over time.



The Dawn of Art ( 5 mins)

Cave art from Chauvet France



Palm Print of Man



The oldest ‘Portrait’ of Man is a 32.000

Years old Hand Print!





Palm Print of Man - a 32.000 year old hand print found in Chauvet Cave, France.

The earliest known ’portrait of man’ was found in Chauvet Cave (south-east of France) – which was discovered 1994. Containing the earliest known cave paintings, the cave art has been attributed to Aurignacian Man (c.35,000 BC) through the use of carbon dating. Interestingly, among the many cave paintings there are quite a lot of hand prints; one of those hand prints became known as ‘the oldest portrait of man‘ – made c.32.000 BC!














Altamira Cave – Northern Spain


Discovered in the late 19th century, the Altamira Cave in northern Spain was the first cave in which prehistoric paintings were discovered. The paintings were of such an astounding quality that the scientific society doubted their authenticy and even accused it’s discoverer Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola of forgery. Many people simply did not believe prehistoric man had the intellectual capacity to produce any kind of artistic expression. It was not until 1902 when the paintings were acknowledged as genuine. The charcoal and ochre images of horses, bison and handprints in the Altamira Cave are among the best preserved cave paintings in the world.


 Altamira includes paintings dated stylistically to the Solutrean and Magdelanian periods (22,000-11,000 years ago). The cave walls are decorated with multi-colored paintings of animals, stenciled hands, and sculpted humanoid masks.


Altamira Cave - Web Link

Airbrush from Altamira


Altamira Cave ( 3 mins)









Spain's El Castillo Cave – Spotted Horses


Research Shows More Women Cave Artists


Even a superficial examination of published photos suggested to me that there were lots of female hands there - The 28,000-year-old hand stencils of Spain's El Castillo cave and the late Paleolithic ones in France's Gargas cave also yielded the same result.


"We don't know what the roles of artists were in Upper Paleolithic society generally," said Snow. "But it's a step forward to be able to say that a strong majority of them were women." - Stenciling, painting and chipping hand imprints onto rock walls started at least 30,000 years ago among humans."



Astronaut-like Drawings






Astronaut-like drawings at Val Camonica, Italy


Drawing from Val Camonica in Northern Italy shows yet again the extraordinary obsession primitive man had with figures in suits and unusual headgear


Ancient paintings from Val Camonica, Italy are believed to depict forgotten deities; ancient astronaut proponents claim these pictures resemble modern day astronauts despite being painted ca. 10,000 BC.








Kapova Cave  - Russia


Kapova Cave is a rockshelter in the southern Ural Mountains of Russia, where a mile-long gallery of cave paintings includes over 50 figures, including mammoths, rhinoceros, bison and horses, combined human and animal drawings and trapezoids. Indirect-dated to the Magdalenian period (13,900 to 14,680 RCYBP).








California’s China Lake, near Death Valley - California


Algerian Cave Painting






Algerian cave painting circa 6000 BC


Two images c.6000 BC from Tassili, Sahara Desert, North Africa. They do not look human do they ? Also notice the disk in the sky in left hand picture.


In Jabbaren, in the Tassili mountains, Algeria, south of the Hoggar. A 6m high character with a large round decorated head. The massive body, the strange dressing, the folds around the neck and on the chest suggest some ancient time astronaut. A similar character is painted at Sfar in the Tassili, in the Cabro caves in France and in several other places. Some of them are much smaller and raise their hands towards a giant being, of non human appearance, sometimes these "round heads" being seem to hover in the air.   From 6000 B.C.







Wondjina rock art in the Kimberley region, Australia


Other artistic support for the ancient astronaut theory has been sought in Palaeolithic cave paintings. Wondjina in Australia are claimed to bear a resemblance to present day astronauts. Supporters of the ancient astronaut theory sometimes claim that similarities such as dome shaped heads, interpreted as beings wearing space helmets, prove that early man was visited by an extraterrestrial race.








Kakadu Rock Paintings


Located in the Northern Territory of Australia, Kakadu National Park contains one of the greatest concentrations of Aboriginal art sites in Australia. Approximately 5000 art sites have been discovered in Kakadu along the escarpment and on rock outliers. The Aboriginal painting are estimated to range in age from 20,000 years to the recent present although most of the paintings are less than 1500 years old. The site at Ubirr has some of the finest examples of “X-ray art” in the world. The Aboriginals not only painted the outside but also the bones and internal organs of the animals.








Cueva de las Manos – Patagonia - Argentina

Cueva de las Manos is a cave located in an isolated area in the Patagonian landscape of southern Argentina. It takes its name (Cave of the Hands) from the stencilled outlines of human hands, but there are also many depictions of guanacos, rheas and other animals, as well as hunting scenes. Most of the hands are left hands, which suggests that painters held a spraying pipe with their right hand. The paintings are thought to have been created between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago.







Prehistoric Cave Paintings –– Links


Petroglyphs ...>










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