Friday, June 15, 2012

I’m Proud to be a Neanderthal?

We started our Art History Group study with cave paintings three years ago.  This morning, Mary L. sent us a link to new information she discovered regarding cave art.  The article heading is:  "New dating method shows cave art is older: Did Neanderthals do it?" 

Cave paintings have always been attributed to the Paleolithic period (Homo sapiens), but a new method of dating these cave paintings suggests they may be from Neanderthal’s. 

Neanderthal (Homo neanderthalensis) forensic reconstruction by Arturo Balseiro for the book, 'Them and Us: How Neanderthal predation created modern humans' by Danny Vendramini. Kardoorair Press, Australia. 2009, Author: DannyVendramini, Wikimedia Commons

Homo sapiens à Quison (04), France, Author: Véronique PAGNIER, Wikimedia Commons

The old method of dating the cave paintings was through the radiocarbon testing.  Scientists are trying a method called uranium-series disequilibrium dating.  “Carbon dating” is not now obsolete; it means simply that there is now more than one way of dating these paintings.

Recent Thursday Art Group blog posts suggest how to become aware of artistic symbols relating to our current study, the Carolingian period.  As this MSNBC article suggests, cave paintings are the earliest symbols of our very, very ancient ancestors.  We may not know what they mean, but we generally know what they are (hands, horses, etc.).

Thanks, Mary L.
To read more on this fascinating story and see cave art images, go to MSNBC.

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