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Whitley on Chauvet
Wednesday 01 August 2018

Dr David S. Whitley, American archaeologist and one of the world's leading experts on cave paintings, covers a lot of ground - as you would expect with a title such as this - in his publication Cave Paintings and the Human Spirit: The Origin of Creativity and Belief.

David Whitley Paul Taçon Richard Kuba
The author David Whitley (centre) during a recent Getty Conservation Institute field trip in eastern California with Professor Paul Taçon (left) of Griffith University and Dr Richard Kuba of the Frobenius Institute

Having visited Chauvet himself in 1999, the author describes the situation clearly. This is one of many compelling aspects. The age of the art of Chauvet runs from thirty five to thirty six thousand years, with two different episodes of use.

The fighting rhinoceroses Panel of the Horses Chauvet Cave Art Paintings France
The fighting rhinoceroses & horses on the Panel of the Horses

Chauvet was discovered in December 1994 by three local cavers Christian Hillaire, Eliette Brunel-Deschamps and Jean-Marie Chauvet after whom the cave was named. No one had been inside the cave for millenia, apart from the discoverers, Jean Clottes and a few others, since it had been sealed off with the collapse of the original entranceway. In fact, there were three phases of collapse: roughly 29,400, 23,500 and 21,500 years BP. The first collapse marked the end of the second period of human occupation (the Gravettian), and the end of animal occupation followed the second collapse of the cliff. The final collapse sealed the prehistoric entrance. This is why the archaeological context of the cave was 'pristine'.

Whitely writes that 'Chauvet dramatically disproved any contention that our human artistic capabilities had evolved, over time, from simple to complex. When art first appeared, it appeared full-blown in a technically and aesthetically sophisticated fashion.'

Visit the Art of the Chauvet Cave section:
www.bradshawfoundation.com/chauvet/index.php

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ROCK ART NETWORK
Rock Art Network Bradshaw Foundation Getty Conservation Institute
CAVE PAINTINGS
Dating questions challenge Neandertal cave art
by Bradshaw Foundation
Friday 01 November 2019
Rock Art Network Colloquium 3
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 29 October 2019
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 07 October 2019
New publication by Derek Hodgson
by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 03 September 2019
Charcoal drawings discovered near Brno
by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 01 July 2019
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 21 May 2019
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 14 May 2019
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 11 April 2019
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by Bradshaw Foundation
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 29 January 2019
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Thursday 24 January 2019
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Monday 10 December 2018
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Tuesday 04 December 2018
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by Bradshaw Foundation
Wednesday 28 November 2018
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by Bradshaw Foundation
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by Bradshaw Foundation
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