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Astounding Prehistoric Cave Art

Nature's beauty has long been a source of inspiration for artists all around the world. It is evidenced by many works of art, poetry, and music that have captivated countless souls all over the world and center around nature's beauty and allure. The beauty of nature allows us to go to a variety of locations.


In the Andalusian town of Ardales ( Malaga, Spain ), the cave of Ardales( Cueva de Ardales), also known as the Cave of Doña Trinidad Grund, dwells. A prehistoric site with Paleolithic wall art. Some research showed that the cave paintings in the Ardales cave would be the oldest artistic representation in the world being more than 66,000 years old and being attributed to Neanderthals.- our closest extinct human relative.


The cave was discovered in 1821 when an earthquake moved the sediments and left the current entrance to the cave free. In 1918, a famous prehistorian Henri Breuil visited the cave and discovered the first Paleolithic paintings and engravings that he made known with the publication of a certain magazine in Paris in 1921. In 1985, a scientific research and recovery project began that demonstrates the use of the cave for eighty thousand years, and in the same way, it is reopened to the public.



The rock manifestations were discovered in 1918, locating several painted figures in the "El Calvario" room. The artistic manifestations of this site occupy the entire chronological range of the Upper Palaeolithic, with engraved and painted motifs that were made from 65,000 years ago, until about 8,500 years ago, which compels us to rethink that they were previously made in Neanderthal times. More than a thousand designs can be found inside. It includes airbrushed hand paintings and engravings of fauna and paintings with female human representations painted and engraved signs.


The cave is also imbued with handprint stencils and paintings of humans and animals. It has red-stained flowstones, which have inspired a talk over whether its color is natural, or one of the cave's earliest art. New research appears to settle the question in favor of human intervention, offering an opportunity to explore the development of cave painting from its very beginning. The accuracy of the painting, some up to 65,000 years old, proves the first artists were Neanderthals. Cueva de Ardels is filled with a mound of stalagmites- a tapering column rising from the floor of a cave, formed of calcium salts deposited by dripping water and often uniting with a stalactite. As the redeposited minerals build up after countless water drops, a stalactite is formed. If the water that drops to the floor of the cave still has some dissolved calcite in it, it can deposit more dissolved calcite forming a stalagmite. Some colored areas look natural but still remain a mystery whether it is natural or not.



A doctor of Barcelona University collected microscopic samples from several segments of the panel and analyzed their composition to discover if the red pigment was an evolution in nature.


The authors of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported that the pigment is of mineral, comparatively more than microbial origin. An iron that's in the form of hematite, produces the color. The material varies by stalagmite, with calcium always present, and at least one of carbon and silicon in every sample, sometimes accompanied by other trace metals. Imperatively, while iron-rich deposits exist in the cave, they have different compositions to these stalagmites' pigments; most didn't even contain hematite. The limestone formations could not have got their color from naturally occurring iron formations, according to the authors.

It came to their conclusion that the color must have been done by human hand by using pigments brought from an unknown source outside the cave. The location of some of the stained stalagmites rules out an accidental brushing against an outcrop. Although in most cases, the authors are unsure on how the color was applied, some of it appears on folds that are inaccessible and could only have reached by airborne droplets, suggesting a blowing mechanism seen often in later hand stencils.


The author's assertion is that it may have been away for Neanderthals to highlight the cave's natural formation for themselves. The authors wrote, “It would seem to us that the carrier of the symbolic information is, in this case, the large stalagmitic dome harboring the panel, not the panel itself,”


“Putting another way, using the dome as the canvas is useful shorthand but should not be taken to imply that this large formation is no more than a convenient surface used to oppose markings and that these markings are in and of themselves the repositories of symbolic information irrespective of where made. Instead, we believe that the dome is the symbol, and the paintings are there to mark it as such, not the other way around.”, they added.


Stepping out cave art is frequently hard. One of the paintings has been measured to be more than 65,000 years old, prior to previous records by almost 20,000 years indicating the Neanderthals as the artists. Another one which is definitely said to be more than 46,000 years old, but could be coordinately ancient and was made with almost the same paint. Consequently, the pair could represent the product of an eruption of creative activity, or be made thousands of years apart. Nevertheless, a third stalagmite, utilizing a distinctively composed paint, can be dated to between 45,000 and 49,000 years ago, showing similar art was made thousands of years apart. Some of the paint is covered, designating that it may have been rehabilitated by successors of those who originally made it.



Sources:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalagmite

https://second.wiki/wiki/cueva_de_ardales

https://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/colored-stalagmites-painted-by-neanderthals-are-the-oldest-cave-art-known/




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