Chauvet cave dating controversy

But subsequent technology has made it possible to date the paintings by sampling the pigment itself and the torch marks on the walls.

The choice of subject matter can also indicate chronology.

He hypothesizes that the main themes in the paintings and other artifacts (powerful beasts, risky hunting scenes and the representation of women in the Venus figurines) are the fantasies of adolescent males, who constituted a large part of the human population at the time.Henri Breuil interpreted the paintings as being hunting magic, meant to increase the number of animals.Another theory, developed by David Lewis-Williams and broadly based on ethnographic studies of contemporary hunter-gatherer societies, is that the paintings were made by paleolithic shamans.It contains the oldest known cave art in the world, which may be more than 40,000 years old.This cave was discovered in 1903 by Hermilio Alcalde del Río, the Spanish archaeologist, who was one of the pioneers in the study of the earliest cave paintings of Cantabria.

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