Many prehistoric cave paintings were made by children
By T.K. Randall
March 17, 2022 · 6 comments
Examples of ancient cave paintings with hand stencils. Image Credit: CC 1.0 Luc-Henri Fage
New research has suggested that the process of creating cave paintings may have been a family affair.
The study, which was conducted by researchers from Cambridge University in the UK and the University of Cantabria in Spain, looked into 200 examples of hand stencils that were painted on the walls of Spanish caves by Europe's early inhabitants around 20,000 years ago.
These paintings were essentially created by placing a hand on the cave wall and then blowing pigment through a hollow reed or bone to produce the outline of the hand on the wall.
Incredibly, by creating 3D models of the paintings, the researchers discovered that at least 25% of them were actually the outlines of the hands of young children, not adults or teenagers.
"Many more children's hands came out than we expected," lead study author Veronica Fernandez-Navarrogical told The Telegraph
"It would appear that artistic activity was not a closed activity closely linked to male individuals and the survival of the group, as had been thought until now."
What's more, the process of blowing pigment down a tube to produce these paintings would not have been possible for such a young child to accomplish on their own, meaning that they would have likely received the assistance of a parent or older sibling.
This, in turn, suggests that the process of creating such paintings was something of a family affair.
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