How prehistoric rock paintings have survived to this day

(ORDO NEWS) — Despite the fact that scientists around the world have been finding rock paintings for more than a century, every time the art hidden in ancient caves amazes the discoverers.

Some of the rock paintings are about 50,000 years old! How did they survive so well? The first rock paintings were discovered at the end of the 19th century.

Despite claims that they date back to Paleolithic times, many scholars did not believe this, as it contradicted anthropological ideas about early humans and their cognitive abilities at the time.

However, with each new drawing, scientists became more and more convinced that our ancient ancestors were more capable than they thought.

A series of exciting discoveries across France and Spain has brought much attention to the area, and the rock art has become an important subject for studying the history of Neanderthals and modern humans.

Early human art showed animals, hunters, and even specific symbols. All this spoke of the level of complexity and symbolic language of prehistoric man.

The age of the rock paintings varies greatly from region to region. For example, the famous drawings in the Lascaux cave are about 18,000 years old.

And in 2019, scientists discovered an image of a wild boar that is 45,500 years old! The discovery was made in Indonesia on the island of Sulawesi.

Of course, studying the age of the drawings, scientists were haunted by the question of how such ancient images could resist the verses and did not disappear.

And there are some secrets here. First, the paints used by these early artists were organic. They contained iron or hematite, which formed the ocher pigment.

This pigment was usually mixed with charcoal, burnt bones or animal fat. Nearly all of these ingredients are highly fade resistant unless exposed to fire or chemicals.

Also, on the walls of some limestone caves , a coating of bicarbonate is formed due to water seepage. It effectively protects paintings, allowing them to remain vibrant for thousands of years.

However, scientists say that the most important factor in the preservation of paintings is their remoteness from external conditions.

Many of the discovered caves are not subject to water level changes or structural changes as a result of tectonic movement/volcanic activity.

The temperature and humidity in such caves hardly change, and erosion and corrosion simply cannot occur in an enclosed space.

The last but not the least factor is the lack of people. Some of these caves may have been uninhabited and untouched for millennia. And as we know, it is the man who bears the greatest destruction!

The famous Lascaux Cave has already suffered from the attention of people. During the hot seasons, over 100,000 tourists a day could visit the cave.

Millions of camera flashes and carbon dioxide emissions in the enclosed space proved to be destructive to the paintings, so the cave was eventually closed. Instead, an exact copy of its walls was erected.


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