With the discovery, archaeologists assume that, contrary to what was thought, there were two artistic styles in the Paleolithic period.
New cave paintings were discovered between Spain and France, in the Basque Country region. According to the lead author of the research, Blanca Ochoa, the paintings date from 40 thousand years ago and demonstrate two distinct artistic styles – which is surprising for this period of history.
The records, published in the magazine Antiquity, are in 17 caves and add a lot to what is known about these artistic traditions. Researchers from the University of the Basque Country, in Spain, visited 23 sites with prehistoric art in northern Spain that are from the pre-Madeleine period – between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.
The most important discovery, according to the Ancient Origins website, is the Danbolinzulo cave, on the slope of Mount Ertxina, near the city of Zestoa. The place presents the so-called “homogeneity of the motives”: the faded orange and brown paint on the stone walls reveals several unidentified figures represented in the middle of five ibexes (species of wild goat that lives in the region), two horses and a possible anthropomorphic figure – ancient stylized representation of a human being.
In an interview with the Israeli website Haaretz, Ochoa said that, despite the differences in artistic styles in the caves, it is not clear how they maintained two distinct styles. Blanca points out that cultures in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, India and the Far East have intertwined, but have managed to maintain substantial differences in their art styles over the centuries.
According to Ancient Origins, the Danbolinzulo cave is the closest archaeological site to France that shows the Iberian prehistoric style in rock art, and the discoveries are considered an advance for archaeologists as they fill a gap in the region.