Why Did Our Ancestors Draw So Few People?

Take our mini-quiz and find out

Grotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Why did the Aurignacians draw so few people? (2019/2019) by Fanny Le BagousseGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Did Aurignacians draw few people because…

A. They were shy or B. Animals played a bigger role in their spirituality

Cave Bear (Chauvet Cave) (2008/2008) by L. Guichard/Perazio/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

The correct answer is…

B. Animals played a bigger role in their spirituality

Central Piece of the Feline Fresco (Chauvet Cave, Ardèche) (2018-08-02/2018-08-02) by L. Guichard/Perazio/SmergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

If we compare the quantity of animal, geometric, and human figures, we can reach the conclusion that depicting an animal or a geometric symbol was more important or valuable than reproducing the shape of a person. 

This seems to show that animals and geometric symbols played a vital role in the portrayal of the Aurignacians' spirituality.

Horses Pannel (extract) (-36000/-36000) by L. Guichard/Perazio/smergcGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

So, for around 30,000 years in Europe, our ancestors drew animals, geometric symbols, and rarely humans. The reason for this seems to be the representation of their spirituality.  A decorated cave that runs deep must have been seen as a sacred space where they expressed beliefs and myths embodied by drawn symbols.

How did the Aurignacians light up the caves? (2019/2019) by Fanny Le BagousseGrotte Chauvet - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Let's see if you can answer another prehistory question!

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