The oldest painting discovered yet
Some old Spanish cave paintings are trying to shatter our beliefs regarding our superiority over our cousin extinct species Neanderthals. Uranium-thorium dating of calcium carbonate, which is formed, layer by layer, over the time, on top of paintings drawn on cave walls, showing that they were made at least 65000 years ago; but the problem is our ancestors Homo Sapiens reached in Europe 40000 Years ago, till then there were only Neanderthals were flourishing in entire Europe. This raises several key questions,
Neanderthal oldest painting
These ancient paintings were discovered in three mysterious ancient caves La Pasiega, Maltravieso, and Ardales, these are 435 miles (700 km) apart from each other. These oldest paintings were known and being studied by the Archaeologists since many years.
Now a team from University of Southampton, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and other institutions used a new sophisticated method to date back these oldest cave paintings.
Until now archeologist uses radiocarbon method to know how old a painting or relic is but this method can only be used in organic material!
However, these ancient cave paintings made of ochre; a pigment containing clay and ferric oxide. Now this team used Uranium-Thorium dating of calcium carbonate; Geologists were using this method for decades; but now this method is being used in Archeology first time.
By using this dating method, team took 60 different samples of calcium carbonate, weighing 10 milligrams each approximately, dated the samples and reached on conclusion that these paintings were made at least 64000 Years ago.
Uranium-Thorium dating method
Water containing calcium flows down from the cave walls, over the time Calcium carbonate layer by layer precipitates over the paintings of cave walls; this also contains some amount of Uranium from the rock, as you know uranium decays in to thorium at a fix rate, by measuring this, scientist can set the date of these layers and can tell exactly when each layer of calcium carbonate formed, thus if the oldest layer is 60 thousand years old, means the pigment and the paintings beneath it, is as older as this layer.
There is no archaeological or paleontological proof of presence of homo sapience in Europe at that time, evidence suggests that modern humans reached Europe about 40 thousands years ago. Then who was the artist? Who made these oldest found paintings….some Archeologist clearly declaring that this is an act of none other than Neanderthal. However, this eventually implies that Neanderthals were smart; they were capable of Symbolic thought..and this theory is hurting egos of some Homosapien archeologist deeply.
“Ladder-like shapes, dots and handprints were painted and stenciled deep in caves at three sites in Spain. Their precise meaning may forever be unknowable, “It wasn’t simply decorating your living space, People were making journeys into the darkness.” says Alistair Pike, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton
Well, this discovery may lead some people believing that Neanderthal invented and used ladders!