Herodotus Returns

35,000-year-old cave art found in Romania
June 15, 2010, 6:32 am
Filed under: Cave Paintings, Rock Art, Romania | Tags: , , ,

Romanian experts have discovered the most ancient cave paintings found to date in Central Europe, aged up to 35,000 years old, Romanian and French scientists said Sunday. Everything I’ve ever read about Central/Eastern European prehistoric art cites abundant portable artifacts, like figurines and small models, but a dearth of cave art. This, obviously, changes that. It’s good to have Jean Clottes’s stamp of approval here. No pictures released of the art yet. I’m wondering if styles will reflect what we see in Western Europe. Theoretically, the people who painted Lascaux passed through Romania on their way to France.

The pictures show animals including a buffalo, a horse and even a rhinoceros.

“It is for the first time in Central Europe that… art this old has been found and confirmed”, said a joint statement from the Romanian Federation of Speleology — the scientific study of caves — and Jean Clottes, an expert working with UNESCO.

It is a “major discovery” and “its authenticity is certain”, Clottes, a specialist in prehistoric art, told AFP. He was called on by Romanian specialists to certify the discovery.

His team included cavers, a paleontologist, an archaeologist and two cave art specialists and estimated the drawings were “attributable to a period of ancient rock art, the Gravettian or the Aurignacian (between 23,000 and 35,000 years ago).”

Carbon tests must confirm these estimates, they said.

The black-paint drawings, discovered three or four months ago in the Coliboaia cave in northwestern Romania, depict animals, including a buffalo, a horse, bear heads and rhinoceros, federation chief Viorel Traian Lascu said.