Study confirms ancient Spanish cave art was made by Neanderthals

The combination of photos taken on July 29, 2021 shows a close-up and a general view of a partially coloured stalagmite tower located in the Spanish cave at Ardales, south Spain.According to a Monday study, Neanderthals were once thought to be brutish and unintelligent.Since the 2018 publication of a paper claiming that red ocher pigment on Cueva de Ardales' stalagmitic dome was a sign of extinct species, the issue has been raging in the paleoarchaeology world.According to the dating, the art was at most 64,800 years of age, and was made in a time before modern humans inhabited the continent.Francesco d'Errico co-author of a paper in PNAS, said that the findings were contentious.New analysis showed that the composition and location of the pigments was not consistent with natural processes. Instead, they were applied by splattering or blowing.Their texture was also not the same as natural samples from caves, indicating that the pigments were from an external source.Further analysis revealed that pigments were applied at various points in time and separated by more than ten thousands years.This "supports" the hypothesis that the Neanderthals visited the cave on multiple occasions over several thousand years to mark it with pigments, said d'Errico of the University of Bordeaux.It is hard to compare the Neanderthal "art” to wall paintings created by prehistoric modern people, such as the ones found in the Chauvet Pont d'Arc cave in France, which are more than 30,000 years old.The new evidence shows that Neanderthals were not the boorish cousins of Homo sapiens as long believed to be.The team stated that pigments were not art in the strictest sense of the word, but the result of graphic behaviors with the intent of perpetuating the symbolic meaning of a space.Cave formations "played an important role in some Neanderthal communities' symbolic systems," but it is still unclear what these symbols mean.Continue exploring Archaeologists uncover remains of 9 Neanderthals close to Rome2021 AFP