Earliest Wall Art Is Found in France
A massive block of limestone in France contains what scientists believe are the earliest known engravings of wall art dating back some 37,000 years, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The 1.5 metric ton ceiling piece was first discovered in 2007 at Abri Castanet, a well known archeological site in southwestern France which holds some of the earliest forms of artwork, beads and pierced shells.
The images range from paintings of horses to “vulvar imagery” that appears to represent female sex organs, carved into the low ceiling that rose between 1.5 to two meters (yards) from the floor, within reach of the hunters. The work is less sophisticated than the elaborate paintings of animals found in France’s Grotte Chauvet, which was more remote and difficult to access, believed to be between 30,000 and 36,000 years old. In contrast, the engravings and paintings at Castanet are rougher and more primitive in style, and were likely done by everyday people.