Prehistoric art

Humans make art. We do this for many reasons and with whatever technologies are available to us. Prehistoric art refers artifacts made before there was a written record. Long before the oldest written languages were developed, people had become expert at creating forms that were both practical and beautiful. The earliest art comes from the Paleolithic era (the Old Stone Age), but it was in the Neolithic era that we see the most important developments in human history. The way we live today—settled in cities, protected by laws, eating food from farms—all this dates back approximately 10,000 years ago to the Neolithic era.



















Replica of the painting from the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in southern France (Anthropos museum, Brno)
The oldest art: ornamentation Humans make art. We do this for many reasons and with whatever technologies are available to us. Extremely old, non-representational ornamentation has been found across Africa. The oldest firmly-dated example is a collection of 82,000 year old Nassarius snail shells found in Morocco that are pierced and covered with red ochre. Wear patterns suggest that they may have been strung beads. Nassarius shell beads found in Israel may be more than 100,000 years old and in the Blombos cave in South Africa, pierced shells and small pieces of ochre (red Haematite) etched with simple geometric patterns have been found in a 75,000-year-old layer of sediment.

Paleolithic art, an introduction