Inside the Painted Caves of Southwest France
Presented by Stephen "Dr. Steve" Phillips, Ph.D, Penn Museum
Online via Zoom
Register on Eventbrite: painted-caves.eventbrite.com
Modern human artistic expression is evident in the form of hundreds, if not thousands, of enigmatic images painted onto the walls of caves in southern France. Early modern human occupation(s) of these painted caves range in date from about 15,000 years ago to as much as 30,000 years ago, an astounding depth of time.
Our capability to express ourselves symbolically through art is among the features that make our species unique in the animal kingdom. Scholarly research into the origins of human art plays an important role in anthropological research to this very day.
Why produce art at all? Can we, from our viewpoint tens of thousands of years later, even understand the intent of the Paleolithic artisans who created these images deep inside remote caves?
Over the course of four summers excavating Neanderthal archaeological sites elsewhere in southwest France, Dr. Steve had the opportunity to visit several of these remarkable caves, including going inside two of them. This lecture takes us on a journey to three of these remarkable sites: Font de Gaume, Lascaux, and Chauvet. The images you will see we can relate to, however, can we relate to “why” these images existed?
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