The rockshelter art discovered by a team of anthropologists in southwest France way offer new details about the life, customs, and habits of the early human population.
Previous research has shown that the early modern humans reached Western Europe from Africa. They are believed to have settled on the European continent some 45,000 years ago. Studies have shown that they were able to manufacture tools. And they could also make art as well.
Now, a limestone slab will add to their artistic portfolio. This rockshelter art was discovered in southwest France. More exactly, in the Vezere Valley. A team of international anthropologists is studying the area. They are looking for traces of the Aurignacian culture.
This latter is believed to have been prevalent amongst the earliest modern humans. Aurignacian civilizations are believed to have lived in between 43,000 to 33,000 years ago.
The rockshelter art could provide important new information about their life. A study paper on the matter was released earlier this month. It was published in the Quaternary International journal.
It became available online on January 24 and was titled as follows. “A new Aurignacian engraving from Abri Blanchard, France: Implications for understanding Aurignacian graphic expression in Western and Central Europe”.
The area started being analyzed more closely back in 2011. Randall White is the leader of the research team. He is a University of New York anthropologist.
The rockshelter art was engraved in a limestone slab. A rockshelter is the shallow opening at the base of a cliff or bluff. It is quite similar to a cave. As such, it is sometimes called a crepuscular cave. Or even an abri, rockhouse, or bluff shelter.
Research determined that the area held engraved art. And one of the oldest hand etched such art forms. The rockshelter art is estimated to be about 38,000 years old. This places it amongst the oldest pictures discovered in the western Eurasia. Engraving can be achieved by cutting grooves into a flat, hard surface.
Randall White went to offer some details. According to him, this engraving could help shed new light on the early human life. At the time, these first modern humans spread across the continent. They went both northward and westward.
Their regional patterning could hold important details about the life in the area. As could their general art and ornamentations.
This latest rockshelter art reveals an aurochs. The latter is an ancient wild cow, now extinct. A row of dots surrounds the animal. By studying these images, the researchers are hoping to glimpse into the lives and minds of the people that inhabited the area.
It can also help them find differences and similarities in other regions. For examples, they could be compared to African graphic expressions.
According to White, even after migrating from Africa, the early humans still kept some of its art. This general artistic base helps bring out the regional characteristics.
The anthropologist also pointed out something else. This discovered rockshelter art corresponds to social geographical models. More exactly, personal ornamentation and art could be social representatives. They could characterize both the individual and their social regional group.
The current discovery was made in the Abri Blanchard. This latter has a sister site, the Abri Castanet. Scientists have gathered many important artifacts from the two.
Image Source: Wikimedia