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Paintings, Engravings and Sculptures

La Grande Grotte de Saint-Front is a little over a kilometre upstream from Domme, on the left bank of the Dordogne. Also known as La Grotte du Mammouth, it contains a number of engravings and sculptures, including a superb Mammoth on a high ceiling.

Mount Grattai and Gins Mountain

Aboriginal art site on the Northern Tablelands of NSW Australia, including a lizard, a snake, and hand stencils. It appears to be regularly maintained and cared for by local aboriginal people as part of a continuing tradition.

Altamira Cave and paintingsAltamira Cave is 270 metres long and consists of a series of twisting passages and chambers, and is decorated with ice age paintings. The artists used charcoal and ochre or haematite to create the images. They also exploited the natural contours in the cave walls to give their subjects a three-dimensional effect. The Polychrome Ceiling is the most impressive feature of the cave, depicting a herd of extinct Steppe Bison in different poses, two horses, a large doe, and possibly a wild boar. Around 13 000 years ago a rockfall sealed the cave's entrance, preserving its contents until its eventual discovery.

Danish Rock Art

Open air rock engravings from Bornholm, Denmark

cap blanc
L'Abri du Cap Blanc - Over 15 000 years ago, Ice Age hunters carved horses, bison and reindeer, some of which are over two metres long, straight into the Limestone cliffs at Cap Blanc. The abri, which was discovered in 1909, is today the only frieze of prehistoric sculptures in the world to be shown to the public.

 Carnarvon Gorge
Carnarvon Gorge - an Aboriginal Rock Stencil Art site, with engravings of vulvas, emu and kangaroo tracks.
Carnarvon Gorge lies within the spectacular and rugged ranges of Queensland's central highlands. The fragile aboriginal art on the gorge's sandstone walls reflects a rich culture. Ochre stencils of tools, weapons, ornaments and ceremonial objects, as well as engravings and grooves where tools were sharpened provide an insight into the lives of the gorge's first people.

  Cave paintings and sculptures

Cave paintings and sculptures

chauvetcaveChauvet Cave in the valley of the Ardèche River in France is filled with paintings, engravings and drawings created more than 30 000 years ago, of cave lions, mammoths, rhinos, bison, cave bears and horses. It contains the earliest known cave paintings, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. It is situated on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River. The later Gravettian occupation, which occurred 25 000 to 27 000 years ago, left little but a child's footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves. After the child's visit to the cave, evidence suggests that the cave had been untouched until discovered in 1994. The footprints may be the oldest human footprints that can be dated accurately

Cussac CaveCussac Cave or Grotte de Cussac contains over 150 Paleolithic artworks as well as several human remains. It is located in the Dordogne River valley. The cave was discovered on September 30, 2000. The cave's artworks are estimated to be 25 000 years old, and are almost exclusively engravings, often very large, made with stone tools on the walls, or with fingers on clay soil. Pigments are limited to very few red dots. They include both classic instances of Upper Paleolithic animal art (bison, horses, mammoths, rhinoceroses, ibex) and rarer images including birds, enigmatic figures, and perhaps four female profiles.

Isturitz Les Grottes d'Isturitz et d'Oxocelhaya - The Caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya date back to the Mousterian, about 80 000 BC, and there is evidence of Neanderthals living there, but occupation extended to almost the end of the ice age in 10 000 BC. Isturitz is famous for the discovery of a series of important prehistoric flutes dating from the Upper Paleolithic (Aurignacian to the Magdalenian), about 35 000 to 10 000 BC. There are bone harpoons, etchings of bison on a sandstone plate (Magdalenian), reindeer carvings, as well as images of a human figure and human heads.

Kapova Cave Kapova Cave is a famous Russian Palaeolithic cave. It has painted mammoths, rhinos, horses and a bison on its walls. The cave has two levels, the paintings are mainly in the upper level at some distance from the entrance. The charcoal was dated with the 14C method to be 14 680 ±150 years old. Among the animal bones were cave bear bones. Kapova Cave is a complex natural monument with multiple grottos and halls connected by passages on various levels. The walls of the cave are rich in calcite deposits of all kinds of forms and sizes. An underground river flows out of the cave and forms the Blue Lake at its entrance.

  Aboriginal Art of the Kimberleys
Aboriginal Art of the Kimberleys
This is a record of part of a bushwalking trip from the Berkeley River to the King George River and then to the Drysdale River in the Kimberley region of northern West Australia.

  Lascaux Cave Lascaux Cave is famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The paintings are estimated to be 17 300 years old. They primarily consist of images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. The cave was discovered on September 12, 1940 by four teenagers. The cave complex was opened to the public in 1948. Rooms in the cave include The Hall of the Bulls, the Passageway, the Shaft, the Nave, the Apse, and the Chamber of Felines. Lascaux II, a replica of two of the cave halls — the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery — was opened in 1983, 200 metres from the original.

  Namibia rock art
Rock paintings from Namibia in Africa. In Namibia these rock paintings and engravings were completed by San Bushmen. The rock engravings, more prevalent in some areas than others, have been found to be from 2 000 to 6 000 years old, and some paintings have been found to be 27 000 years old.

  Niaux CaveNiaux Cave, or la Grotte de Niaux is one of the most famous prehistoric caves in Europe. It lies in the northern foothills of the Pyrenees, and is located in Ariège, in the valley of Vicdessos, across the valley from the smaller Grotte de la Vache, in an area rich with prehistoric sites. The huge cave entrance, 55 metres high and 50 metres wide, is at 678 metres above sea level. There are more than two kilometres of galleries, with a hundred or more superb paintings from Magdalenian times, most of which are in the famous 'Salon Noir', 800 metres from the entrance. Many of the paintings are done in the classic style of the Magdalenian, outlined in black or red pigment, mostly haematite or manganese dioxide respectively.

Petroglyphs rock engravings of Alta
The Rock Drawings of Alta constitute the most important piece of evidence in favour of the existence of human activity in the confines of the Great North during the prehistoric period. Close to the Arctic Circle, they are a valuable illustration of human activity between 6 200 and 2 500 BP in the Northern Hemisphere. They are primordial evidence of the fauna, representing reindeer, elks, bears, dogs and/or wolves, foxes, hares, geese, ducks, swans, cormorants, halibut, salmon and whales, and of the environment. They also depict boating, hunting, trapping and fishing scenes, as well as people taking part in dances and ritual acts.

San paintingsThese paintings by the San people of South Africa are on the Sevilla Trail near the Traveller's Rest, a lodge on a farm about 30 km east of Clanwilliam in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, and are taken by Michael Hess. The Bushmen/San were the original inhabitants of Southern Africa and are commonly known as Bushmen or San. They were hunter-gatherers, hunting with bows and arrows, trapping small animals and eating edible roots and berries. They lived in rock shelters, in the open or in crude shelters of twigs and grass or animal skins. They made no pottery, rather using ostrich eggshells or animal parts for storing and holding liquids. For these reasons, animals and nature are central features in the Bushmen's religious tradition, folklore, art and rituals.

Utah mammoth rock art
Columbian Mammoth and Bison rock art engravings have been found at the Upper Sand Island rock art site at the San Juan River in Utah, USA. The engravings appear authentic, and show rock varnish and wear indicating that they are from the end of the ice age, about 13 000 - 11 000 years ago, at about the time of the Clovis culture.

mammoth carvingA bone fragment, approximately 13 000 years old, at Vero, Florida with an incised image of a mammoth or mastodon has been announced. This engraving is the oldest known example of Ice Age art to depict a proboscidean (the order of animals with trunks) in the Americas. The bone was discovered in Vero Beach, Florida by James Kennedy, an avocational fossil hunter, who collected the bone and later while cleaning the bone, discovered the engraving.

Grotte de VillarsThe Grotte de Villars or Villars Cave contains galleries of stalactites and earth coloured calcite accumulations, including 17 000 year old prehistoric paintings dating from the same period as those at Lascaux. The slow seepage of water has created some of the most beautiful natural scenery. There are all types of concretions: calcite, thin stalactites, gours, translucent draperies and countless stalagmites. Some of the cave paintings, like those of the rotunda of the horses are covered with a thin layer of calcite that gives them a special blue color.The scene of the bison and the sorcerer is one of the few human representations of prehistoric art.

Vulvas of the Stone AgeThe Vulva in Stone Age Art - The vulva is well represented in Palaeolithic art. It is mostly seen as engravings on stone, bone or ivory. The representation is obviously a well known one that has become abstracted to the point where it is often no more than an oval or circle with a single mark at its centre or at its lower edge. Although many examples are from Europe, and from the upper Palaeolithic, it occurs over a broad time range, and a very large area, including not just Europe, but Australia as well.

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