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List of Stone Age art

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In this Bradshaw rock painting from Australia the artist portrays tasseled costumed figures in various poses or actions.
In this Bradshaw rock painting from Australia the artist portrays tasseled costumed figures in various poses or actions.

This is a descriptive list of art from the Stone Age, the period of prehistory characterised by the widespread use of stone tools. This page contains, by sheer volume of the artwork discovered, a very incomplete list of the works of the painters, sculptors, and other artists who created what we now call prehistoric art. For fuller lists see Art of the Upper Paleolithic, Art of the Middle Paleolithic, and Category:Prehistoric art and its many sub-categories.


Bison Licking Insect Bite; 15,000-13,000 BC; antler; National Museum of Prehistory (Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, France)
Bison Licking Insect Bite; 15,000-13,000 BC; antler; National Museum of Prehistory (Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, France)

(sorted by age)

Magdalenian Horse, c. 15,000 BCE, Musée d'Archéologie Nationale, France
Magdalenian Horse, c. 15,000 BCE, Musée d'Archéologie Nationale, France

Cave paintings and other rock art

Possibly the "Oldest known drawing by human hands",  discovered in Blombos Cave in South Africa. Estimated to be 73,000 years old.[6]
Possibly the "Oldest known drawing by human hands", discovered in Blombos Cave in South Africa. Estimated to be 73,000 years old.[6]
The artist depicts a group of wild or domesticated horses. (from Chauvet Cave in France)
The artist depicts a group of wild or domesticated horses. (from Chauvet Cave in France)
  • In September 2018, scientists reported the discovery of the earliest known drawing by Homo sapiens from Blombos Cave (South Africa), which is estimated to be 73,000 years old, much earlier than the 43,000 years old artifacts understood to be the earliest known modern human drawings found previously.[6]
  • The Petroglyph (incised rock art) article features a list of petroglyph sites
  • Altamira cave (Spain) – in 1879 the first prehistoric paintings and drawings were discovered in this cave, which soon became famous for their depth of color and depictions of animals, hands, and abstract shapes.
  • Bhimbetka rock shelters (India) – the shelters, decorated with art from 30,000 years ago, contain the oldest evidence of artists exhibiting their work on the Indian sub-continent.
  • Bradshaw rock paintings (Australia) – Aboriginal artists painted well over a million paintings in this site in the Kimberley, many of human figures ornamented with accessories such as bags, tassels and headdresses.[7] These artworks are well over 20,000 years old.
  • Cantabria cave (Spain)
  • Çatalhöyük (Turkey) – probably the best preserved large Neolithic site, its artwork includes murals, figurines, and depictions of animals. The Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük was found here.
  • Chauvet Cave (France) – some of the earliest cave paintings known, and considered among the most important prehistoric art sites.
  • Chufin cave (Spain) – small cave with engravings, stick figures, and artwork schematically portraying red deer, goats and cattle.
  • Coliboaia cave (Romania) contains the oldest known cave paintings of Central Europe, radiocarbon dated to 32,000 and 35,000 BP, corresponding to the Aurignacian and Gravettian cultures of the Paleolithic period.
  • Cuciulat cave (Romania) features several red paintings of animals, including horses and felines, which are about 12,000 years old. These were the first manifestations of this kind known in Central Europe.
  • Cueva de las Manos (Cave of Hands) (Argentina) – a series of caves exhibiting hundreds of outlines of human hands, hunting scenes, and animals painted 13,000 to 9,000 years ago.
  • Côa Valley (Portugal) – artists engraved thousands of drawings of horses and other animal, human and abstract figures in open-air artwork completed 22,000 to 10,000 years ago.
  • Cosquer Cave (France) – hand stencils from 27,000 years ago, and 19,000-year-old animal drawings that portray bison, ibex, horses, seals and what may be auks and jellyfish, showcase this gallery.
  • Draa River (Morocco)
A 16,000-year-old masterwork from the Lascaux cave in France
A 16,000-year-old masterwork from the Lascaux cave in France
Rock carving of Pelorovis antiquus at Tassili n'Ajjer, southern Algeria
Rock carving of Pelorovis antiquus at Tassili n'Ajjer, southern Algeria


The Venus of Monruz is an 11,000 year-old stylized pendant, 18 mm in height.
The Venus of Monruz is an 11,000 year-old stylized pendant, 18 mm in height.

Prehistoric figurines made from stone, ceramic or other materials have been found around the world. Notable examples included the Venus figurines of Upper Palaeolithic Europe and female anthropomorphic figurines from Neolithic Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe.[19]

Swimming Reindeer, a 13,000-year-old mammoth-tusk sculpture now residing in the British Museum, depicts a female on the right and a male on the left.

See also


  1. ^ Martin Bailey Ice Age Lion Man is world's earliest figurative sculpture The Art Newspaper, Jan 31, 2013, accessed Feb 01, 2013
  2. ^ "Collections", National Museum of Prehistory Archived 2015-04-30 at the Wayback Machine in Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil (in French)
  3. ^ "Horse engraving on bone". British Museum. 2011. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  4. ^ British Museum; Ann Sieveking (1987). A catalogue of palaeolithic art in the British Museum. Published for the Trustees of the British Museum by British Museum Publications. pp. 112–. ISBN 978-0-7141-1376-0. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  5. ^ A History of the World -7,, accessed July 2010
  6. ^ a b St. Fleur, Nicholas (12 September 2018). "Oldest Known Drawing by Human Hands Discovered in South African Cave". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
  7. ^ Donaldson, Mike The Gwion or Bradshaw art style of Australia's Kimberley region is undoubtedly among the earliest rock art in the country –but is it Pleistocene? Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine (free download) L'art pléistocène en Australie (Pré-Actes) IFRAO Congress, September 2010 p. 4.
  8. ^ Pike, A. W. G. (2012). "U-Series Dating of Paleolithic Art in 11 Caves in Spain". Science. 336: 1409–1413. doi:10.1126/science.1219957.
  9. ^ "Oldest confirmed cave art is a single red dot" by Michael Marshall, New Scientist, 23 June 2012, pp. 10-11.
  10. ^ Clottes, Jean (2003). Chauvet Cave: The Art of Earliest Times. Paul G. Bahn (translator). University of Utah Press. ISBN 0-87480-758-1. Translation of La Grotte Chauvet, l'art des origins, Éditions du Seuil, 2001, p. 214.
  11. ^ Amos, Jonathan (June 14, 2012). "Red dot becomes 'oldest cave art'". BBC News. Archived from the original on 15 June 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012. One motif – a faint red dot – is said to be more than 40,000 years old. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Masters, Emma (4 October 2009). "Aboriginal rock art collection 'world's largest'". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
  13. ^ Michel Geneste, Jean (2010). "Earliest Evidence for Ground-Edge Axes: 35,400±410 cal BP from Jawoyn Country, Arnhem Land". Australian Archaeology. 71 (December): 66–69.
  14. ^ "Les Combarelles – Grotte – Eyzies-de-Tayac – Périgord – Dordogne" (in French). Hominidé December 2007. Retrieved 1 May 2011. Cite web requires |website= (help)
  15. ^ "Aboriginal heritage". Office of Environment and Heritage. Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 7 May 2011.
  16. ^ South American Handbook. Trade and Travel Publications Limited. 1976.
  17. ^ David S. Whitley (2001). Handbook of Rock Art Research. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 712–. ISBN 978-0-7425-0256-7.
  18. ^ Aldenderfer 1998, pp. 56–57.
  19. ^ Insoll, Timothy (2017). The Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Figurines. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199675616.
  20. ^ Inventory number 47 019.
  21. ^ ""It must be a woman" – The female depictions from Hohle Fels date to 40,000 years ago..." Universität Tübingen. July 22, 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-10-11. Retrieved July 26, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help); Cite web requires |website= (help)
This page was last edited on 18 August 2019, at 09:41
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