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Art Beneath Our Feet
Art Beneath Our Feet
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Why are people artists? And what do the first artworks tell us about ourselves? Those questions have guided National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez on a decade-long quest to understand art’s biological origins and how it connects our past to our present. His journey has taken him from the southern coast of Africa, where humans first begin making paint over 100,000 years ago, to the discovery of the America’s largest cave artworks in the Southern United States. This presentation is in person and in partnership with Williamson County Heritage. It is free but registration is required (here). February 28th, 2023 6PM Central Standard Time Franklin Theater Franklin Tennessee
Chauvet Pont d’Arc the discovery of 36,000-year-old art
Upper Paleolithic Proto Writing
We know that ancient artists were exacting observers of the natural world. But it is mind bending that they may have had a written time keeping system 20,000 years ago.
A Dark Pathway
A Dark Pathway book review
Founding board member emeritus Dr Jan Simek has a new book about cave art in the Southeastern United States. Dr David Whitley gives us a detailed review. A Dark Pathway: Precontact Native American Mud Glyphs from 1st Unnamed Cave, Tennessee, by Jan F. Simek. 2022. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. xviii+195 pp., 85 b&w and 19 color figures, 14 tables, bibliography, index. ISBN 9781621907176, hardcover. By David S. Whitley Rock Art Research Institute University of the Witwatersrand “Mud glyph” and “1st Unnamed Cave” are not particularly inspiring terms that, at first glance, might promote reading this book. Yet these very earthy, workman-like words in the sub-title exactly belie the careful, compelling and in fact exciting study detailed in this volume. Anyone interested in the Native American symbolic and spiritual world will benefit from and enjoy this book; it should be required reading for those concerned with the indigenous southeastern US...
A Southeastern Cave Entrance
Indigenous Cave Explorers of the Southeastern US
Indisputable evidence proves Indigenous Americans ventured as far as 3 miles into southeastern caves 5,000 years before the invention of electric light. Native Americans were excellent cave explorers.
Meet Dr Joe Watkins PhD
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At the Ancient Art Archive, we always knew we wanted the Mural of America stories to be told from an indigenous perspective, so we were beyond thrilled when Dr. Joe Watkins agreed to join our team to engage Native communities in building out each site's archaeological and cultural content.Joe's gentle personality, Choctaw ancestry, archaeological expertise, and decades of experience conducting collaborative work with indigenous communities make him ideally suited for this project. Read on to learn more about Joe and his journey! v Joe, what inspired you to become an archaeologist?When I was a kid, I would spend the summers with my grandmother out in the country on the edge of Cypress Swamp in southeastern Oklahoma. It was kind of fun. We had no electricity, We drew our water from a spring in the back, bathed in the river, and my grandmother cooked on a wood stove. We went to sleep...
Hard dates on the Kimberly Paintings 17,000 years ago!
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An article published today in the Journal Nature Human Behavior (here subscription requited) establishes the date of some of the Kimberly rock art paintings as 17,000 years ago. Rock art is notoriously hard to date. The authors of the study took radio carbon dates from wasp nests built on top of paintings to establish minimum dates. One painting in particular is dated to between 17,500 and 17,100 years ago by dating material in overlying and underlying nests. CNN provides and excelent synopsis here.
Big News from Indonesia
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There was big news from Indonesian earlier this month. A multinational team has identified the oldest known figurative paintings in the world on the island of Sulawesi. The new dates 44,000 years BP are in line -yet older- than other dates from Sulawesi and Borneo. In their paper in Nature Maxime Aubert has identified not just animals but therianthropes “abstract beings that combine the qualities of both people and animals.” (there is an excellent discussion of the article in Smithsonian) Six humanoid figures with animal features surround an anoa, a small type of buffalo, in a 44,000-year-old Indonesian cave mural. (Ratno Sardi) Therianthropes are incredibly rare in paleolithic cave art. The most famous example is the transforming bison from Chauvet made famous by Cave of Forgotten Dreams and there is a lesser-known anthropomorphic figure from Tito Bustillo in Spain. A therianthrope figure in Tito Bustillo cave, Spain. Aubert’s find further confirms...
Platinum Palladium Print
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Master platinum-palladium printer and Guggenheim Grant winner Pradip Malde produced an exquisite, limited-edition print to support the Ancient Art Archive. Pradip and I chose a photograph of the Head of Sinbad rock art site on the San Rafael Swell in Central Utah for this print. The paintings are Barrier Canyon Style and thought to be between 2,000 and 4,000 years old. I shot the image this spring with Pradip’s printing in mind. Platinum print by Pradip Malde, image by Stephen Alvarez image size approximately 9" x 14"
Limited Edition Chauvet Portfolio to support the Ancient Art Archive
Ancient Art Archive on Instagram!
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The Ancient Art Archive launched and Instagram account! Humanity's newest social media platform seemed like the perfect place to Explore the Humanity's oldest stories. In the feed, we post images and videos from the Archive and also pictures from the field. Sometimes ice age art is breathtakingly simple and mysterious. 15,000 years ago someone drew a series of Reindeer inside Las Chimeneas cave, Spain. All of them are rendered in this minimalist style. So delicate and evocative. None of the figures has a mouth... #spain #paleolithic A post shared by Ancient Art Archive (@ancientartarchive) on Jul 5, 2017 at 3:12pm PDT It is a great addition to our Facebook page. The stories we are recording on rock and cave walls around the planet are Humanity's first social media. These new platforms bring our first stories to a new audience. (more…)
Subscribe to the Ancient Art Archive
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Magdalenan age paintings in Tito Bustillo Cave, Spain Please subscribe to the Ancient Art Archive for a periodic summary of our work and offerings. (more…)