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Tag archives for rock art

Ancient Words: Deciphering an Ancient People and Their Language in El Salvador

Who Were the Ancient Mountain Dwellers of Coastal El Salvador?   It’s difficult to recognize and understand the meaning of ancient texts, words, symbols and the messages they contain.  This is not only due to the very complexity of systems of communication, but mostly because we often don’t see them. During the holidays, I had…

Pitcairn Islands Expedition: Remnants of a Lost Civilization

Long before the arrival of the “Bounty” mutineers, this remote island was home to generations of Polynesian navigators and traders. Discover what hints still remain of this fascinating culture.

Pitcairn Islands Expedition: Rock Climbing for Rock Art

The trail we followed to the see ancient Polynesian rock art at a place called “Down Rope” was one of the steepest, scariest stretches of trail I’ve ever been on, and totally worth it.

Prehistoric Cave Art Discovered in Basque Country

In a cave just outside an industrial town in Biscay, Spain, researchers have unexpectedly discovered images of horses and hand prints dating back some 25,000 years. It’s only the fifth such discovery in the province since 1904. See photos and learn more about the discovery.

3D Cave Art: The Closest You Can Get to Time Travel

Acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog presents some of humankind’s oldest art using some of its newest techniques in “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” in 3D. See what Herzog and renowned cave art expert Jean Clottes have to say about the film and their experiences making it.

Caribbean Cave Art Myths Revealed

Some of humanity’s oldest and newest storytelling techniques have been brought together through an innovative project in the Dominican Republic. Having met in 2010 at an international conference on Ice Age rock art (covered here on NatGeo News Watch), experts in both ancient myths and modern digital photography teamed up this past January to catalog…

“Wildest Mammoth in the West” Found?

While researchers in northern Colorado dig up the bones of giant Ice Age mammoths (see gallery), others nearby in southeastern Utah are looking at a very different record of these extinct creatures. High on a cliff overlooking the floodplain of the San Juan River, rock art specialists Ekkehart Malotki and Henry Wallace have examined several…

World’s Oldest Optical Illusion Found?

Long before the famous duck-rabbit illusion (seen at right), prehistoric artists were creating mind-bending double images of their own, according to a new paper presented earlier this year at an international convention on rock art research. The paper’s author, Duncan Caldwell has surveyed the Paleolithic art of several caves in France and discovered a recurring…

70th Anniversary of the Discovery of Lascaux

Montignac, France–In a moment of wonder and elation 70 years ago this week, four French teenagers discovered more than just their missing dog. Lost in the woods outside the small medieval town of Montignac in Aquitaine, the pup had fallen into a small cavern in the ground. The dog was rescued and a few days…

Rock Spirits at the Portals to Afterlife

The final day of the 2010 IFRAO conference on Pleistocene Art of the World continued to present innovative approaches and fascinating discoveries about the well-known but little understood world of prehistoric rock art. Tarascon-sur-Ariège, France–Anderzej Rozwadowski gave some enlightenment about the significance of rock itself to Siberian shaman culture, showing how parts of it may…

Cracking the Code in the Rocks

On the fourth day of the International Federation of Rock Art Organizations (IFRAO) conference, National Geographic Digital Media’s Andrew Howley learns from experts how ancient wall paintings can be deciphered to tell something about the Stone Age artists who made them. Tarascon-sur-Ariège, France–The iconic images of bison, deer, and mammoths are what draw many people…

Walking Into the Stone Age

On the third day of an international conference in France of experts on prehistoric rock art, National Geographic Digital Media senior producer Andrew Howley makes his first visit into caves adorned with images painted 13,000 years ago. Tarascon-sur-Ariège, France–Today the laptops were shut and the projectors powered down, as the participants in the IFRAO conference…

Finding Pictures and Meaning in rock Art

On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the discovery of the cave paintings in Lascaux, France, experts from around the world are gathered this week at the Park of Prehistory in the Pyrenees to discuss the beautiful and enigmatic remnants of the world of prehistoric art. National Geographic Digital Media’s Andrew Howley continues blogging…

Mysteries of Prehistoric Rock Art Probed

Ancient people the world over illustrated rock walls with paintings or carvings evocative of their environment and belief systems. But even as we begin to understand more about the rock artists and the images they left us, new questions about their eternal messages are being raised. Tarascon-sur-Ariège, France–On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the…