Ancient wall paintings and carvings are prehistoric works of art, carved by humans eons ago. We look at some renowned ones around the world.
Bhimbetka rock shelters, India
Spread across over 750 rock shelters, the paintings show the earliest traces of human life in the subcontinent. They are believed to be the oldest known rock art in the country and depict themes of animals, dancing and hunting.
Cave of Altamira, Spain
The Paleolithic cave, situated near the town of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria, is famous for charcoal and polychrome portraits of flora, fauna and human hands. The earliest of these paintings are around 36,000 years old.
Cueva de las Manos, Argentina
Lying in an isolated spot in the Pinturas River valley, the cave is renowned for its paintings of hands. Considered to date back 13,000-9,000 years, the images are mostly of left hands. Other depictions include animals such as rheas and felines, geometric shapes and hunting scenes.
Estimated to be around 17,000 years old, the interiors of the cave complex are covered with parietal wall paintings. Typically, they depict large animals that were found in the Upper Paleolithic period. The most famous is the Great Hall of the Bulls, which showcases deer, horses, and bulls.
Magura Cave, Bulgaria
The prehistoric paintings – depicting religious ceremonies, hunting scenes, and local deities – were created using bat excreta. Two of the most notable ones are the Fertility Dance and the Hunting Ceremony.
Laas Geel, Somaliland
Considered to be one of the best-preserved rock art in Africa, the paintings are believed to be 11,000-5,000 years old. Discovered by an archaeological team from France in 2002, they show cattle in ceremonial robes accompanied by humans.
Serra da Capivara, Brazil
Most of the rock shelters within the Serra da Capivara National Park are adorned with paintings depicting hunting scenes, rituals, animals, and trees, which are over 25,000 years old.
Ajanta Caves, India
Located in the state of Maharashtra, the rock-cut cave monuments are a testimony to some of the finest Buddhist religious art in the world. The caves, estimated to be built between 1st and 2nd centuries B.C., were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
Sky Rock Petroglyphs, California, US
Facing upwards toward the sky, not much is known about the carvings on top of the boulder in the city of Bishop. Thought to be over 5,000 years old, they may have originated during the Paiute settlement in the region.
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Ancient wall paintings
Ancient wall paintings
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