Digging Out Ancient Cave Arts Around the World

Digging Out Ancient Cave Arts Around the World
The charcoal and ochre depictions of horses and handprints in the Altamira Cave are among the best preserved cave paintings in the world. Picture credit: Flickr

From Australia to India and all the way to Bulgaria, here is a list of some cool prehistoric cave art from the world over

OT Staff
November 18 , 2022
02 Min Read

The Ajanta and Ellora caves are famed for being intricately detailed works of art documenting history. Most prehistoric art found in caves and on rocks is vague and faded over with ancient symbols that we might never find out the meanings of, but some of these discoveries have been monumental in human history and evolution. While many scientists and archaeologists had long-held Eurocentric views about the birth of human creativity, some of the arts found in Egypt and Indonesia challenge those notions. Meanwhile, here is a roundup of some of the most exciting pieces of prehistoric cave art.

Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, India- Any sort of prehistoric discovery in India shouldn’t surprise you as the country is widely believed to be one of the five ancient seats of civilizations in the old world. The Bhimbetka shelters comprise a collection of rocks located in central India. These rock caves or shelters contain over 600 paintings that span the prehistoric Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, the oldest of which dates back to at least 12,000 years. These paintings include an array of animals like crocodiles, tigers and lions, along with depictions of the lives of ancient cave people


Lascaux, France- Prehistoric paintings depicting bulls, horses and abstract symbols were discovered in a series of caves in the Dordogne region of France in 1940. The site is now off-limits to the general public and is only accessible by some scientists each year for research. 

Scientists believe that the paintings in Bulgaria's Magura Cave were made using bat droppings.

Kakadu, Australia- The paintings found in Kakadu date back as many as 20,000 years ago and contain one of the longest historical records of the Aboriginal people of northern Australia. The rock art of Kakadu, which the UN recognizes as a World Heritage Site, depicts the now-extinct marsupial tapir, human figures and obscure symbols. 

Magura Cave, Bulgaria- The paintings in Bulgaria’s Magura cave date back to different periods, from Upper Paleolithic to the early Bronze Age. Scientists believe that they were made using bat droppings. These ancient paintings depict human figures, animals, and the oldest solar calendar in Europe.

Northern Sinai Desert, Egypt- Another one of the big five of the old world, Egypt’s Sinai Desert is the most recent site of discovery in the country, where a cave, adorned with unique engravings of animals has been unearthed. The Sinai Desert spans the length of the Suez Canal till the Israeli border and was exploited by the Ancient Egyptians for its wealth of minerals. 

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