Michelangelos in the fellwand existed before 30.000 years

A new investigation confirms the age of paintings in the chauvet hollow and forces a description of the art history

In december 1994, jean-marie chauvet, who was at this time as a temporary supervisor for the hollow in the ardèche region at the french ministry of culture, made a sunday walk with two friends with two friends. Chauvet led her to a hollow and they went to explore. The hobby researcher had become curious about a rock in a stream by a breeze and what the three found, overtruft by far their expectations: a huge hollow system that has many different hollow paintings. There are 300 drawings of nashorners, auerochsen, lowen, mammuts, horses – big and expressive appears a whole bestiary in front of the eyes of the amazing viewer. Chauvet reported quite properly the discovery of the hollow and little later appeared the first specialist for hollow painting, which confirmed that it is palaolithic art, because he diagnosed the typical signs of erosion.

The professional world was critical, because an auxiliary overseer brought something so spectacular to light, the specialist seemed unlikely the specialist. The broken cowl bodied, more than one undertook, it had to be a false. Chauvet, so has been folded, have been done by the extremely impressive and dynamic drawings my own hand.

Nevertheless, the french state immediately went to number. The minister of culture jacques toubon recipiented the world in january 1995 the sensational news of the discovery of the archaological jewels, while some of his burok rates of which fabricated a ruck-dated document that the auxiliary overseer chauvet ied an official order to explore hollow. So – so they concluded – the good man did not claim to participate in relation to marketing the hollow. Already in the first year after the discovery, the state had earned millions with the commercialization of motifs from the stone-oriented gold mine. The legal dispute lasted years and ended with a comparison of the two parties in 2000.

But that’s just part of the unemakes that the state has to be racing, because now also the three families who belonged to the land against their expropriation and now from a court in the third instance 87.5 million francs (27.26 mill. Dm) valuation. The state had hoped to come with a payment of 31,730 francs (9460 dm) of it and went into vocation.

Dispute for dating

The legal disputes around the chauvet hollow are therefore, the scientific also. In the meantime, although the expert voices suspected, which suspected a false, but the dispute over the dating of hollow paintings stopped and the current ie of the magazine nature delivers new ammunition for the debate about when and how the pictures of the "michelangelos in the felling" (thus, the french auxe ministry) are to be classified. Helene valladas from the sciences laboratoire du climat et de l’environnement, gif-sur-yvette, and colleagues of other institutions in france confirm the early findings: the paintings in the hollow are 30.000 years old.

New radiocarbon examinations again start this age. The institute had already made some c14 dating in the past and the fruh’s masterpieces of the epoch of the aurignacien (35.000 to 28.000 years before our time). The ministry stated after the first dates that these findings: "which so far generally recognized amptions are subject to the first-time occurrence of art and their further development and give the proof for this that the homo sapiens has already reached very early to the championship in drawing".

The pictures of the chauvet hollow are stylistically mature so that they are definitely from the magdalenia (17.000 – 12.000 years old) had to come. The biggest paintings in the hollow of altamira, lascaux or niaux are all from the magdalenia. The people of aurignacien have made impressive carvings, but as a painter they have not really emerged. All representations assigned to them are line drawings and linear outlines.

If the wall pictures are really so old in the chauvet hollow, the early art history must be rewritten. So far, the stylish said that the development is linearly on simple line drawings to becoming more and more complex images and that this evolution is associated with social changes.

Accordingly, the conservation of established research fell out. The datements were simply doubted, a much quoted argument is that the hollow painters were used as crayons of coal from very much old fireplaces and because the radiocarbon method does not fix the age of the works of art, but the coal, there is just the scientific mistake.

The new dates of valladas and colleagues not only determine the age of the coal used, but also analyze the torchrub that has laid over the already existing paintings. These torch traces are practically just as old as the coal used to draw. With the new findings, the dating on the aurignacien epoch seems unreal. Nevertheless, the debate will continue to continue, the established state of research is under prere. The french scientists see the consequences of their new investigations:

"Prahistorians traditionally interpreted the evolution of prahistan art as a steady progress of simpler to becoming more and more complex reproduction station, must now mean the existing theories of the origin of art coagulation."

Michelangelos in the Fellwand existed 30,000 years ago

Valladas and colleagues found that there have been two significant episodes with a temporal interval of a few thousand years in which people probably used the chauvet hollow as a kind of sanctuary (there are no traces that they lived there). For more than 20.000 years is the entrance to the hollow.

Virtual visit

The chauvet hollow is principally not accessible to the public in order to harm the wall paintings. A museum to include a reconstruction of the hollow is planned and is expected to open in 2003. The building becomes 6.Be 500 square meters, about 30 hectares of surrounding park. The planners expect 300.000 visitors a year.

Who wants to visit the hollow before 2003, can already make a comprehensive virtual tour now .

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