The Chauvet Cave was the most interesting site to learn about for me. Despite only discussing it for a short time in class, its very specific purpose caught my attention. Possibly due to the collapsed rock face creating a completely isolated environment, the lack of any human remains suggested the cave was only used for a distinct purpose, art. The importance put on culture, more specifically visual or painted art, over thirty thousand years ago is the astounding part.
Equally as interesting, is the huge chronological range that the cave paintings were drawn. For over five thousand years, more than 200 generations of individuals returned to this one cave and upheld a tradition. This shows an incredible dedication to culture and art, much more than I would have expected in that time period.
The characteristics of the actual drawings were also captivating. The collective patterns; artists portraying animals as moving and use of specific animals found alongside alters or evidence of ceremonies, displayed cultural traditions shared between groups of people and generations. The individual patterns also showed individuals paths and remnants within the cave. The man with the crooked pinky for example, can be traced throughout the cave, and linked to several drawings.
Another interesting component of the cave drawings which exemplify the artists’ sophistication for the time was the anatomical depictions of animals and women. They showed somewhat in depth understanding of the human and animal bodies, and also far exceeded my expectations for that time period.
This cave, through example rather than just hearing about it, has been a great example for me, and helped me understand the timeline and progression of people, culturally and otherwise. Although not as relevant in great discoveries in archaeology, in my ISS class, focusing on the evolution of mankind and its ancestors, making connections between time periods and the inhabitants or subjects is very valuable to me, both because of my interests, and remembering the information.