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Many prehistoric cave paintings were made by children

By T.K. Randall
March 17, 2022 · Comment icon 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.

Source: Artnet.com | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by spartan max2 2 years ago
That's pretty cool. Parents always playing with little idiots kids throughout time lol  
Comment icon #2 Posted by fred_mc 2 years ago
20.000 years ago: Child holding its hand against a wall, blowing paint, thinking: "This was a fun game". We 20.000 years later, looking at the wall, thinking: "This is probably an advanced religious practise, the meaning of which we don't understand, but probably it has a deep meaning".
Comment icon #3 Posted by Piney 2 years ago
Many Coastal Algonquian petroglyphs portraying clan symbols are just graffiti.
Comment icon #4 Posted by SHaYap 2 years ago
Or maybe the cave was just the beginnings of the long tradition across all cultures of pre and post partum confinement / isolation till the little ones are old enough to be the extra eyes and ears for the community.  That's quite possibly the natural  origin of the ritual to "coming out into the world" before the present religion tinged "birthed" into the world. ~
Comment icon #5 Posted by nevins 2 years ago
Clearly the cave was used as a pre school and was showed to their progenitors on parents evening.
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin 2 years ago
Truly remarkable. To realize those hands were from ancient, ancient children. Wow.

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