Question of the Week Podcast

Question of the Week episode

Sun, 21st Oct 2012

Was pre-historic cave art only done in caves?

Cave Painting (c) Some caveman/cavemen.

We find out where our ancestors artistically expressed themselves, plus we ask, how can we melt a potato?

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Caves are rather non-portable.

There are traces of paint on some of the so-called "Venus" statuettes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_figurines

Sculpture is another form of human art, as seen in these statuettes. evan_au, Tue, 16th Oct 2012

Plus caves tend to last longer than many other types of media for art, other than stone carving which can be difficult to do.  CliffordK, Tue, 16th Oct 2012

At Uluru (ayes rock) a natural rock formation was painted in prehistoric times to resemble a snake as well as the depiction of animals in nearby caves. syhprum, Wed, 17th Oct 2012

Well if it's not in a cave is it cave art? I've seen prehistoric art not in caves, but it's very rare as it needs to be protected from weathering and other forms of destruction, such as vandalism.

Apollo astronauts left marks on the moon, including one man's daughter's initials. Assuming these places are not revisited by people these marks will last millions of years. Much longer than even the most durable art on Earth. krool1969, Wed, 24th Oct 2012

There is a lot of prehistoric art around in Australia, almost none of it in caves, though much is in rock shelters.

In much of Australia it was part of the tribal culture/religion in many places to maintain the old rock art, so the actual surface coating/carving might be quite recent, though the design dates from many millennia ago.

Some of the artwork is carved in stone, some uses ochres or campfire soot. damocles, Fri, 26th Oct 2012

In Colorado, USA, there are hundreds if not thousands of petroglyphs that are not in caves. These petroglyphs are 200 to 14,000 years old and were done by native American Indians. Boogie, Tue, 30th Oct 2012

I'm sure caves are just the only places that the art survived.  Surely they practiced on a rock outside first before going in.  Some of the cave art is too impeccable to be the artists first stab at it.  Adam Yax, Mon, 5th Nov 2012

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