Researcher encounters mysterious 5000-year-old paintings with arrows and human-like figures
A collection of 5000-year-old cave paintings with various figures and symbols has been discovered in Spain.
The drawings were discovered in the rocky area of San Juan, near the town of Albuquerque in the province of Badajoz in western Spain.
They are about 4 centimeters long and contain some anthropomorphic figures, as well as an arrow and other symbols, according to the Spanish daily La Vanguardia.
The doodlings were discovered by Agustín Palomo, a historical researcher who lives locally in the caves, while searching for a kind of grave known as a dolmen.
A view of a 5000 year old cave painting discovered by the Spanish expert and researcher Agustin Palomo in Alburquerque, Extremadura, Spain
Palomo immediately recognized their significance, given their location not far from two other well-known sets of cave drawings – ‘Risco de San Blas’, from the Sierra de la Carava and from Azagala – the last of which were discovered around 20 years ago.
It took a year to analyze the drawings, with Palomo, who specializes in the period, responsible for studying one of the drawings that he himself discovered.
The findings will be published Sunday, December 1 in the latest issue of the Journal of Extremeño Studies.
A rugged and rocky surface of the cave wall may be the reason that the paintings have been hidden for so long.
Various other cave art discoveries have been made in the Extremadura region of western Spain – particularly in the caves of Maltravieso, where 71 handprint stencils were found in the 1990s.
The caves of Maltravieso were discovered in 1951 and show traces of human habitation from the Middle Paleolithic period (300,000 to 30,000 years ago).
Spanish expert and researcher Agustin Palomo inspects a 5000 year old cave painting discovered in Alburquerque, Extremadura, Spain
The drawings were discovered in the rocky area of San Juan, near the town of Albuquerque in the province of Badajoz in western Spain
Last year, three different examples of artworks were found deep in individual caves in Spain, about 434 miles apart: La Pasiega in the north, Maltravieso in central Spain and Ardales in the south.
Cave art in La Pasiega dates back more than 64,000 years and was made by Neanderthals – making it much older than the artwork found by Mr Palomo.
The period was around 5000 years ago when writing was born, just after the invention of the wheel and the beginning of historiography.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology did a study last year that suggests that cave drawings from the period before and before the invention of language prove that the fundamental parts of speech came from artworks.
This crossroads of drawing and sound is called ‘cross-modality information transfer’, which is the convergence of visual art and auditory information.
Maltravieso cave with three hand stencils (circled). One is dated at least 66,000 years ago and must have been made by a Neanderthal. The improved color of the photo shows the circumference of the hands. The research team believes that the stencils indicate a clear attempt at art
Cave art in La Pasiega (photo) dates from over 64,000 years and was made by Neanderthals
The report’s authors said that this crossroads “enabled early people to improve their ability to convey symbolic thinking,” the report said.
One of the authors of the Massachusetts study, a MIT linguist named Shigeru Miyagawa, commented: ‘Cave art was part of the package in terms of how homo sapiens achieved this cognitive processing at a very high level.
“You have a very concrete cognitive process that converts an acoustic signal into a mental representation and displays this as a visual.”
The study suggests that Neanderthals invented art 20,000 years before modern man thought of prehistoric bison on cave walls. This cave wall in Maltravieso with Neanderthal hand stencils is almost completely covered with calcite. It is more than 66,000 years old and predates the existence of people in the European region
His theory implies that the creation of cave art was not necessarily a leisure activity. It previously had a conventional purpose, which allowed people to communicate clearly.
Miyagawa said: “I think it is very clear that these artists were talking to each other. It is a common effort. “
Scientists, however, are still somewhat in the dark about the origins of human speech.
PAINTINGS IN SPANISH CAVES SHOWED HOW ART DEVELOPED HELP
Record breaker: the artwork ‘Panel of Hands’ in the El Castillo cave in northern Spain. Created by blowing or spitting paint on the wall, scientists have estimated that the art is at least 40,800 years old
The paleolithic paintings in northern Spain are Europe’s oldest cave art – at least 40,800 years old.
This means that the cave paintings were made by the first anatomically modern people in the area – who were first thought to exist 41,500 years ago – or by Neanderthals.
Scientists have explored a total of 11 caves in northern Spain, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Altamira, El Castillo and Tito Bustillo.
Hand stencils and discs made by blowing paint on the wall in the El Castillo cave were found to be at least 40,800 years old. This makes them the oldest known cave art in Europe – up to 10,000 years older than previous examples from France.
A large club-shaped symbol in the polychrome room in Altamira turned out to be at least 35,600 years old, showing that painting started there 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.
The creation of art is considered important for the evolution of modern cognitions and symbolic behavior and can be associated with the development of language.
Dr. Alistair Pike, from the University of Bristol, said: ‘We see evidence for earlier human symbolism in the form of perforated beads, engraved eggshells and pigments in Africa 70,000 to 100,000 years ago, but it seems that the earliest cave paintings in Europe.
“An argument for development here is that competition for resources with Neanderthals provoked more cultural innovation among the earliest groups of modern people to survive.”