Ocher painting of a horse, Altamira cave, Spain
Forty thousand years ago, humans began to paint animals, mysterious symbols, and even people on cave walls. For over a century, researchers have been interested in how these images were created and what they might have meant. Paleolithic archaeologist April Nowell explores cave art and portable art (including figurines, items of personal adornment, decorated tools, and musical instruments) made from ca. 40,000–10,000 years ago during the Upper Paleolithic.
She looks at techniques of manufacture, interpretation, and dating, and highlights questions about who made this art, what we can we infer about its meanings, and what can we learn about the individuals and the communities behind their creation.
Drawing on examples from sites in Indonesia, Australia, Europe, and Siberia she looks at the science behind the art and how cutting-edge technology is leading to a new understanding of the lives of Ice-Age peoples.
Nowell is a professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria, Canada.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*
*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.