The most ancient paintings found in Europe (from Spain to the Urals). For obvious reasons, it is well preserved on the walls of abandoned caves, the entrances to which were tightly littered with thousands of years ago. For thousands of years the very nature of them maintained the same temperature and humidity. Therefore, not only well-preserved wall paintings, but many other evidence of human activity, including clear traces of bare feet adults and that is particularly impressive – the children on the wet floor of some caves.
By the degree of concentration of the cave paintings stand out province Dordogne, Ariege and Hautes-Pyrenees in France and adjacent to Pineneyam south-west Spanish province of Cantabria and Asturias. In literature the generic name of these areas, “the Franco-Cantabria.” Less “dense” Paleolithic art sites are located on the French and Italian Riviera and the island of Sicily, two caves with paintings discovered on the island of Sicily, two caves with paintings in the southern Ural. Most of these caves and grottoes were discovered for science and became the objects of special study in the last hundred years.
It was long believed that the art of the Paleolithic era – a phenomenon purely European or Eurasian, and that on other continents such monuments was not. A.Breyl even tried to justify the exclusivity of proto-European culture. Later, in the 60-70-ies. it became clear that it is not. In Australia, Arnhem Land and elsewhere were found images of kangaroos and handprints, whose age appeared over 12 thousand. Years.
In South Africa, it is particularly interesting finds in the grotto of Apollo 11. Here in 1969 in the layer between Mousterian and Upper Paleolithic were found two painted stone tile size of a palm. One of them was split into two fragments. On one of the tiles with black paint was applied to the image rhino, on the other – some ungulate. They dated for 14 C between 28 and 26 thousand. Years ago. Here in South Africa, Lion’s Cave were found the oldest known place on earth now mining ocher datiovannoe 14C for about 43.200 years ago. Presumably the Upper Paleolithic include some ancient paintings in Siberia, southern Anatolia and northern China, but more precise dating of these images yet.
Current data on the distribution of cave paintings reflect nothing more than the degree of preservation and study. The rarity of such finds in the space between the Franco-Cantabria and the Ural likely explained by natural conditions and unequal research areas where there are caves than any other causes. In the study of primitive art process of “primitive accumulation” of the data is far from complete, not only, but also on sufficient completeness. Moreover, that define the scope of the “adequacy” is not easy.
Even in the south of France, where in relatively small regions of more than one hundred years are regular and extensive searches the event of unexpected discoveries. The monuments of the rich cave painting area, it would seem the beaten far and wide during the time of Abbot A.Breylya and his first disciples, in the period from 1984 to 1994. It was discovered 21 previously unknown cave painting. Among them – such as Cosquer and Chauvet, which in ancient times, the wealth and diversity are not inferior to the world famous paintings of Altamira, Lascaux, etc., And Chauvet, perhaps, altogether now it occupies the first place among them. And no one can rule out that tomorrow will not be disclosed cave with even more diverse, sophisticated and older paintings.
As of 1994 in Europe, there are more than 300 caves, grottoes and roofs with paintings, undoubtedly belonging to the Upper Paleolithic. Of these, France – 150 in Spain – 125, Portugal – 3 in Italy – 21, in Yugoslavia – 1, Romania – 1 in Germany – 2, Russia – 2 parking areas, in caves and randomly found trudnoischislimoe number of small plastic objects. In Russia, their number has exceeded 150 (the most eastern – in the Baikal region).