The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Prehistoric Cave Art

BUTTE VALLEY -- What would inspire prehistoric people to crawl deep down into dark caves just to draw? As in the case of Lascaux in southwestern France, nobody really knows for sure. The only thing certain is that we are left with a beautiful mystery.

The French caves are home of some of the most famous Upper Paleolithic art (roughly 38,000 to 15,000 years ago) which depicts images of cattle, bison, horses, bears, felines, birds and even rhinoceros. The drawings were randomly discovered in 1940 and have been a sight of wonder and curiosity ever since.

According to Butte College Anthropology instructor, Mike Findlay, the non-utilitarian function of the cave art most likely connects to some form of animism for the early hunter-gatherers of the region. Fascinated by the obscurity, Findlay seized the opportunity -- and an empty cement retaining wall -- to bring the Lascaux paintings and mystery to life in Butte County in 2006. Now, the replica murals serve as educational campus d├ęcor.

"I bring some of my honors and physical anthropology classes out (to the paintings) and ask them: 'Why would they do this?' It gives us a chance to brainstorm theories," he said, and to bring prehistoric art and culture to life. The International Committee for the Preservation of Lascaux states the artists who created the paintings lived in Europe during the finals years of the last Ice Age, approximately 17,000 years ago.

A mixture of earth minerals like iron oxides (ochres) were typically used in prehistoric art to produce reds, yellows, oranges and browns or manganese for blacks and grays, while prehistoric "brushes" consisted of animal or human hair, fur, and plant particles. When Findlay led fellow Butte College staff and students in reproducing the cave paintings three years ago, he opted for modern acrylics and tools. All together the team drew four Lascaux images, two European bison from Alta Mira, Spain, and five Chauvet cave paintings from southern France. The art now graces the retaining wall facing the Learning Resource Center on the main Butte College campus.

"There has been a positive response to the murals," Findlay said. "I don't think everyone is familiar with Upper Paleolithic art," he said with a laugh, "but they appreciate the warm colors."

Allison Ehresman, a Butte College student who participated in the cave art project recounted, "It was a fun thing to do. I love paint and art, and I wanted to express my love for anthropology." Ehresman also expressed satisfaction for leaving a legacy on campus that will continue providing mystery and beauty for others, just like Lascaux has, for years to come."

DeeAnn Resk can be contacted at deeannresk@gmail.com.

Source

No comments:

Post a Comment