Human World

Real-life clan of cave bear had child artists

Please watch this wonderful seven-minute video, hosted by Cambridge archaeologist Jess Cooney. It’s about the people of the Rouffignac caves – a real-life “clan of the cave bear” and one of the most famous prehistoric decorated caves in France. The people who lived there inhabited this region around 13,000 years ago during the hunter-gatherer period. If you are a Jean Auel fan, or even if you don’t know her Earth’s Children series, starting with Clan of the Cave Bear, but are simply fascinated by people, you must not miss this video.

Archaeologist Cooney said:

I’ve become emotionally invested in the people of the cave since I have the privilege of telling their story.

Cooney’s work reveals that some of the delicate cave flutings – often made by the middle three fingers of people’s hands – were made by a three-year-old child who must have been lifted high or carried on someone’s shoulders to decorate high walls of the cave. The most prolific young artist was a girl of five, according to Cooney in this video.

She’s presenting her results this weekend (October 1-2, 2011) at a conference on the Archaeology of Childhood taking place at the University of Cambridge. You can read more about Cooney’s findings and the work of other archeologists in the Rouffignac caves here.

Bottom line: A new video shows the complex Rouffignac caverns of France, and decorations in the caves made by people 13,000 years ago. It’s fascinating!

Jean Auel on painted caves and her latest novel

Ancient humans likely mixed it up

October 3, 2011
Human World

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Deborah Byrd

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