Essay on Cave Paintings

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The Cave of Lascaux and Cave Art      Cave paintings might possibly be the oldest known form of communication that exists today. Cave paintings date back to a period of time called the Paleolithic Age. The Paleolithic Age took place from 40,000 to 10,000 B.C. Prehistoric Age is divided into three parts: Paleolithic being the earliest, Mesolithic being the middle at 10,000 B.C. and Neolithic Age being the latest at 8,000 B.C. During the Paleolithic Age it is believed that the cave paintings at Lascaux, France were created.      Lascaux, is located in the south central, western corner of France. In 1940 this cave was believed to be found by a group of four boys from Montignac, France and a…show more content…
This particular dating method uses radiocarbon dating, however typing of Lascauxs’ pigments suggests the material used in this cave was iron or mangamese and metal oxides which are very hard to date using either of the above methods. According to Nature Magazine “The chronology of European prehistoric cave paintings has been loosely based on the style of fauna depicted or on dated remains left behind by cave occupants, but has become more precise with radiocarbon dating on the charcoal pigments”. (Valladas, et al 479) This suggests that the men completing these works left things behind which the archaeologists are able to date.      Cave paintings of this time were known to be created using a mixture of red and yellow ochre, haematite, manganese oxide and charcoal. The colors these men used were red, brown, blue, purple, yellow and black. Animal fat and plant sap were used, and worked quite well, in producing a binding and preservation agent for these cave works. In these cave lighting was an issue because the cave were often extremely dark and one would have not had ample light to see. It is suggested in the internet source Art: A new History, by Paul Johnson that “both lamps and torch light” were used. (Johnson) Torch lights and lamps were also both effective in burning mass amounts of animal fat which was then used as a binding agent for the paintings. Typically most cave
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