Stone Age Artists Produced Movies: Cave Paintings, Artifacts Create Illusion of Animals in Motion

Article excerpt

By about 30,000 years ago, Europeans were using cartoonlike techniques to give the impression that lions and other wild beasts were charging across cave walls, two French investigators find.

Artists created graphic stories in caves and illusions of moving animals on rotating bone disks, say archaeologist Marc Azema of the University of Toulouse--Le Mirailin France and Florent Rivere, an independent artist based in Foix, France.

Azema and Rivere summarize their 20 years of research on Stone Age animation techniques, much of it previously published in French, in the June Antiquity. They also describe for the first time examples of animation at two French caves, Chauvet and La Baume Latrone.

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"Movement and action are indeed represented in cave art in different manners," remarks archaeologist Jean Clottes, honorary conservator general of heritage for the French Ministry of Culture. Clottes led a 1998 investigation of Chauvet's 30,000-year-old cave paintings.

A 10-meter-long Chauvet painting represents a hunting story, Azema proposes. …