Neanderthal people, and not the Homo Sapiens as believed, created the first art forms. This is the conclusion of the recent carbon dating conducted during the Spanish cave art study of the newly discovered paintings, drawings, and shells in three caves in Spain. Accordingly, the Spanish cave art was made by Neanderthals.
These are the oldest artistic manifestations in the world dating back to 64,000 years ago. The dating, made through a sophisticated method, shows that the Spanish cave artworks were made with at least 20,000 years before the arrival of the modern man (Homo Sapiens) in Europe.
But there are archaeologists who say that we need to be cautious when it comes to dating such ancient forms of art and that more evidence is needed.
U-Th dating was used
There were two studies conducted on the recent discoveries (one was published in the journal Science, while the other in the journal Science Advances). The studies were based on paintings, charcoal drawings and shell beads discovered in three caves in Spain and analyzed by a special uranium-thorium dating method (U-Th) which tells how old is the carbon “crust” that’s covering the artworks.
The results showed that in all the three caves, there are drawings of at least 65,000 years old, but in the “Cueva de Los Aviones” were found perforated shells, as well as traces of pigments that date back to 115,000 years ago.
The authors of the study suggest that the Neanderthal people were not just brainless, but equally cognitive with Homo Sapiens.
Other experts say that we need to be cautious and that there is a need for gathering more types of evidence. The Spanish cave art can be categorized as an artistic expression of the Neanderthals but researchers also need to prove the presence of the Neanderthals in the area, therefore it is also necessary to discover some Neanderthal remains in the area.