Prehistoric Cave Art Discovered in the Balkans

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Inside the Romualdova cave in Croatia, scientists found drawings of an ibex as well as lines and shapes. Credit: A. Ruiz-Redondo

The First Cave Art from the Balkans May Date Back 30,000 Years

by Megan Gannon, Live Science Contributor

Inside of a cave overlooking the blue-green waters of Croatia’s northern coast, archaeologists have found wall paintings that date back to the Upper Paleolithic period.

While prehistoric cave art is plentiful in western Europe, the discovery marks the first time cave art of this age has been documented in the Balkans. The reddish paintings, which depict a bison and ibex, could have been created more than 30,000 years ago, scientists reported Wednesday (April 10) in the journal Antiquity.

Intentionally broken and painted cave formations called speleothems, with some pigment remnants on the fractures in the Croatia cave.
Credit: A. Ruiz-Redondo

“It is quite an important discovery, mostly because it is in a region where no cave art had been known up to now,” said Jean Clottes, a French prehistorian, who wasn’t involved in the new study. “From the photos there is no doubt about their belonging to the Upper Palaeolithic.” [The 10 Biggest Mysteries of the First Humans]

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