In 1985, half century after the discovery of Lascaux, the professional diver Henri Cosquer came across another treasure trove of prehistoric art. Between Cassis and Marseille in the south of France, at a depth of 35 m below sea level, Cosquer found a cave that created a sensation among pre historians. The oldest known works of art representing people and animals are 35,000 years old. But they cannot compare to the magnificent wall paintings which adorn Cosquer’s cave.
The carbon-14 dating method tells us that the oldest part of the cave is more than 28,000 years old. Like Lascaux and the other examples of cave paintings, Cosquer’s cave shows the great hunting scenes of the ice age. The small horses, the three penguins, the jelly fish, The great deer and deer and all the other animals that can be found in the grotto are just like the ghostly hand prints framed in blown red ochre early masterpieces of art.
The real sensation came in 1995 when the exact dating of the Chauvet Cave forced experts to revise radically their long established conceptions of the beginnings of painting. On the basis of the Chauvet finds, we can now say with certainty that prehistoric artists began to sale the heights of artistic achievement at least 33,000 years ago very much earlier than was previously assumed.
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