Humans began leaving artistic remnants of their lives up to 40000 years ago. The preferred method? Vast, colorful illustrations painted and preserved on cave walls, depicting animals and human forms.
There have been many theories as to why so many ancient painting depicting similar things have popped up all over the globe. From theories of some type of religion or ceremony, to communication with others who may pass through the area, the beauty and impressiveness found in them is undeniable.
I was interested in seeing why these ancient people all somehow managed to leave similar paintings, over thousands of years, all over the world and why did they do it? Where did these paintings start? Was it one group of people who started them, then eventually spread out over the globe?
From the caves painting at Sulawesi cave in Indonesia, from a 40000 year old hand outline to a 35000 year old, highly detailed portrait of a pig, we have been painting and leaving creative markers of our existence all over for a very, very, long time. Modern research and dating places painting in Europe and parts of Asia at approximately 40000 years old, which suggests that these paintings happened at approximately the same time, though independently of each other. This discovery leads us to believe that the concept and practice of placing murals and art work in cave walls did not come from one particular region, but spawned independently from different regions before spreading around the world in some type of creative explosion.
Reasons for why the creative outbursts starting happening are not clear, but there are several hypotheses, from ancient humans indulging in ancient hallucinogenics for the sake of ritual, to simple doodles. Yet the dangerous and hard to reach places that some artwork can be found (deep into dark, slippery or steep caves) discredits the idea of doodles, and the fact that not all of the artwork resembles images seen while under the influence discredits the ritual theory. The most likely reason for the drawings seems to be for knowledge. Knowledge of what animals are found in the area, knowledge of plants, knowledge of animal tracks. It would seem that our ancient ancestors were interested in learning and recording the thing they were experiencing, which is a possible explanation for why the drawings are so consistent of the same source material at so many places. Even though there are many viable ideas to why were started recording our history, the real answer may never be uncovered.