News

  • Chauvet Pont d'Arc Horses
    Limited Edition Chauvet Portfolio to support the Ancient Art Archive
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    I have selected 12 images from Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave for a portfolio of prints to help support the Ancient Art Archive. Each image is limited to 12 prints each. Once they are sold there will be no more. The images are approximately 21" x 33" on 2 x 4-foot paper. Go here to see all the images and purchase. I'll be showing six of these prints in Oxford next month as part of a lecture at the Saïd Oxford Business School on September 13. The talk is free but registration is required. Go here for details. -Stephen Alvarez
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  • Ancient Pueblo Rock Art Eclipse on Live Science
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    Live Science has an excellent discussion of a solar eclipse depicted as rock art in Chaco Canyon. The image was discovered by McKim Malville in Chaco Canyon during a field trip in 1992. The image may describe the eclipse of July 11, 1097. Read the whole article here.  
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  • Chauvet Pont d’Arc the discovery of 36,000-year-old art
    September 12 talk in London
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    Countless tales are hidden in our ancestors' oldest caves. National Geographic Explorer & Photographer Stephen Alvarez is hosting a one-day talk and photo exhibit and would like you to join him on a journey back in time to our ancestor’s prehistoric lives.
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  • Ancient Art in the Game of Thrones
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    In a scene that could almost have come out of an Ancient Art Archive presentation, Jon and Daenerys view ancient art in a cave. "They  were right here, standing where we are standing..." The art bit starts around 2:40. Now to my eye, those engravings look a little too fresh to be ancient, and Jon Snow's motives might not make him the most objective observer. If I were Daenerys I wouldn't assume that they were genuinely old until the Uranium / Thorium or Carbon 14 dates came back and were peer reviewed.
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  • DNA is reshaping our view of ourselves
    DNA is reshaping our view of ourselves
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    The story of human migration from Africa into the rest of the world is the original story of exploration. Those first people who walked out of Africa and into the vast unpopulated world told their story of exploration on rock and cave walls as they went. The timeline for that tale has been refined by looking at the DNA our ancestors left behind (more on that in another post). But that same DNA is also showing that the human migration is not as straightforward as we once believed. Prevailing evidence is that modern humans expanded out from Africa between 70,000 and 50,000 BP. Our ancestors encountered and replaced dwindling Neanderthal populations in Europe. However, some Neanderthal lives on in us. With the exception of native Africans, most people have up to 2% Neanderthal DNA. That story got a bit more muddled this month. A study published in Nature Communications -summarized nicely...
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  • 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…)
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  • Panel of the Four Horses
    Atlanta Fundraiser News
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    The Horse Panel of Chauvet Cave, France This week we had a very successful fundraiser hosted by Arts Atlanta (see their article on the archive here). During the event board member, Jan Simek and I gave an overview of how making art became a vital part of the human survival strategy, what the sites look like and how we are using the newest imaging technologies to preserve the world's oldest images. "A Generous Donor will match* any contributions to the Archive  given in the next week" We also revealed exciting new discoveries that we have made working on the Unnamed Caves Initiative. The new finds are spectacular, subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with what we are doing. Thank you to all who attended. Particular thanks to those who contributed to support our efforts to explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories! A very generous donor has agreed to...
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  • 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…)
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  • Bears Ears Images
    Bears Ears Images
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    Petroglyphs in Comb Wash Utah's Bears Ears National Monument is a national treasure. Besides the area's fantastic natural beauty the Monument contains over 100,000 archeological sites. Many of you generously supported a scouting trip to the Bears Ears this spring. The images are now online here. (more…)
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  • The oldest site in North America
    Paisley Cave, the oldest site in North America
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    The road to 5 Mile Point and the Paisley Caves, Lake County Oregon.NRHP Reference #14000708 It is as true in the Northern Great Basin as it is with anywhere else on the planet. Art marks our progress across the world. As we expanded out of Africa more than 55,000 years ago and spread across the globe we left our mark in each new landscape we encountered. The Paisley Caves in Lake County, Oregon yield the oldest dates of human occupation in the Americas. The caves figure large in the history of the Great Basin. Digs have been going on there since the 1930s under the Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Recently, archaeologist Dennis Jenkins has found human coprolites dating to 14,300 years ago. There are charred camel bones that are 700 years older but they were excavated in the 1930s and Jenkins just doesn’t have the documentation to...
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  • Alvarez speaking at the University of Oregon
    Alvarez speaking at the University of Oregon
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    A special public talk by Stephen Alvarez! Ancient Art: Exploring and Preserving Humanity’s Oldest Stories Saturday, May 20, 3:00 p.m. Travel back in time and unravel the human stories told in rock and cave art around the world. There is more information here
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  • Procession Panel, Bears Ears National Monument, Utah
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    Moonrise behind the Procession Panel, Comb Ridge, Utah Recorded March 2017 The Procession Panel, San Juan County, Utah The 15-foot long panel depicts 179 human-like forms coming from three different directions and converging on a central circle. Other figures in the panel include mountain sheep, deer and/or elk and snakes. A few smaller panels are located along the cliff just below the main panel. The Procession Panel in Comb Wash, San Juan Country Utah The Panel is one of the most iconic rock art sites in the new Bears Ears National Monument. As such, modeling it was a primary objective of this year's visit to Utah. The model below was built using more than 200 DSLR images. It is best viewed in High Resolution. The Bears Ears contains a stunning number of archeological sites. The monument is a 1.3 million acre open air museum. The area is central to the...
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  • Bear Ears
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    The Procession Panel, San Juan County Utah The Ancient Art Archive is in Utah all week scouting locations to record in the Bears Ears. For those that don't know, the Bears Ears is one of the United States newest National Monuments. Its 1.3 million acres represent some of the most inaccessible landscape in the lower 48 states. It is also a cultural treasure. There are over 100,000 archeological sites in the Monument and tens of thousands of pictographs and petroglyphs. It's a remarkable place. Thanks to everyone who has helped us get into the field this spring. Your support is vital.  
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  • Dating the cave paintings of Spain
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    Alistair Pike discusses the work he has done with Dirk Hoffmann in dating the cave paintings of Northern Spain in this short video that I shot for National Geographic. The open question that Pike is trying to answer in his research is are all the cave paintings of Europe Human or are some of them Neanderthal? Its an interesting question. Neanderthals certainly could have produced some art, but there is not overwhelming evidence that they did. Refined dating techniques have pushed the age of the first paintings in Europe back. The oldest paintings are now known to be older than 40,000 years. But by the same token refinements in tracing migration by looking at the human genome indicate that homo sapiens sapiens first entered Europe 55,000 years ago. So the current oldest painting in El Castillo in Spain is well within the date range that modern humans occupied Europe. Proving that...
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  • Bulls painted in Altamira Cave
    Pointillism is 38,000 years old. We have invented nothing
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    Pointillism is 38,000 years old. We have invented nothing.
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