Art is a part of us, and has been since the first piece was created around 40,000 to 100,000 years ago. Here are the 10 of the oldest known forms of art (according to the 2011 Art Encyclopedia).
Number one and two on the list are the Auditorium and Bhimbetka caves and the Daraki-Chattan rock shelves in India. Discovered in the 1990s, petroglyphs, or cupules, cover the walls of these areas. With the current knowledge and abilities researchers have, it has been suggested these cupules were made around at least 250,000 BCE.
Located in Golan Heights, Israel, the third oldest artwork we know of has been denied several times before technology finally gave humans credit for it – it being a rock sculpture thought to have simply been formed by erosion through weather, water, ice, and other natural occurances. The Venus of Berekhat Ram, dating back between 230,000 to 700,000 BCE, had to fight for it’s spot on this list, only getting here after microscopic research really did confirm it’s human-made form was art.
Venus of Tan-Tan was not simply random piles of rock and rubble, but rather a truly noteworthy creation. The site is located in Mexico, and was created around 200,000 to 500,000 BCE.
We travel to South Africa next, to the rock art at Blombos Cavern. Made of cupules and odd cross hatch etching patterns, this piece has been dated back to around 70,000 BCE or beyond, and is the most ancient known form of sub-Saharan African art.
Number six takes us up and over into Les Eyzies, Dordogne, France. Known as the La Ferrassie Cave, the cupules found in the paleolithic caverns here are the oldest known form of prehistoric art in Europe, counting back between 70,000 and 40,000 BCE.
Coming close to the end of the list, the caves of Vogelherd in Germany, contain mammoth ivory carvings from 33,000 to 30,000 BCE. Discovered in 2006, the first completely intact mammoth carving was found in Vogelherd, and is the oldest known artifact of European carvings (made in the Stone Ages).
The Venus of Monpazier, a steatite statuette sculpture of a female figure, was found in France in 30,000 BCE, which leads us to our last piece: the Chauvet Cave Paintings in Ardèche, France.
Age from 30,000 to 23,000 BCE, our first cave paintings come into view. Monochrome drawings of animals mixed with indentation and promise, was actually discovered a bit by accident, by three speleologists in 1994, who had been searching different caverns.
Jean-Marie Chauvet, Eliette Brunel-Deschamps and Christian Hillaire came across the Chauvet Cave Paintings, finding rooms full of these paintings, bear and wolf skulls made to ornate the caves.
Quite a big find for a few scientists on a hike!