News Stories

Ancient Portraits

The oldest portrait ever created has been discovered on the wall in a cave in France, in an area where a lot of other prehistoric cave art has been discovered. A rock carving (petroglyph) has been discovered in Arizona that may have been carved by ancient Native Americans and may show the ancient supernova (or star explosion) of 1006.

Adam Sage writes in the Times on Line that, like so much early art, the French cave portrait was discovered by accident. It is estimated to be almost 30,000 years old and was drawn with calcium carbonate. The artist used the irregularities of the cave wall to emphasize the facial features. Human bones were found on the floor of the cave which could be carbon-dated, which helped scientists to date the drawing, which is about 11,000 years older than the paintings found in caves at Lascaux, in nearby Dordogne.

Ker Than writes in space.com that the star petroglyph is only about 1,000 years old, but that's ancient history for North America.

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