9 Places to See Prehistoric Cave Paintings ...


9 Places to See Prehistoric Cave Paintings ...
9 Places to See Prehistoric Cave Paintings ...

When it comes to human history, prehistoric cave paintings are truly fascinating. We can only make guesses at how ancient civilizations lived – but with archaeology, those guesses are pretty darned good. Prehistoric cave paintings give great visual clues as well as being wonderfully primitive works of art. Wanna see some?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Please subscribe for your personalized newsletter:


Study Anatomy at Kakadu National Park, Australia

Study Anatomy at Kakadu National Park, Australia As prehistoric cave paintings go, the Aboriginal art at Kakadu National Park is among the most amazing in the world. With ca. 5,000 art sites alone, ranging from rocky outposts to steep escarpments, the Northern Territory of Australia can boast some of the oldest, as well as the finest prehistoric cave paintings ever discovered. Australian Aboriginals didn't just paint the outline of the animals they observed and hunted, they painted the creatures' bones and internal organs as well – some 1,500 years or more before Leonardo da Vinci got round to doing just that on parchment. Some of the rock art is 20,000 years old, some is modern day, but most of the paintings date back around 1,500 years.


Not only does Kakadu offer a deep plunge into ancient anatomical artwork, but visitors are also treated to a rich tapestry of prehistoric storytelling. Gazing upon these artworks, one can't help but be struck by the profound connection between the people and the land—a tale told in ochre hues. The art gives a unique insight into the lives of these early inhabitants, from hunting traditions to spiritual beliefs. It's a captivating blend of history and mystery, enveloped in the dramatic natural beauty of the park's rugged wilderness.


Visiting Spain's Altamira Cave Made Pablo Picasso Jealous!

Visiting Spain's Altamira Cave Made Pablo Picasso Jealous! When Spain's premier artist Pablo Picasso visited the caves at Altamira to study the prehistoric cave paintings there, he famously said, "After Altamira, all is decadence." The high quality of the wonderful cave paintings in this part of northern Spain allows us insight into the way of life our ancestors led tens of thousands of years ago. These art works are among the finest ever created by human hands, no wonder Pablo Picasso was touched by the green-eyed monster!


The Altamira Cave in Spain is home to some of the most impressive and well-preserved prehistoric cave paintings in the world. The artwork dates back to the Upper Paleolithic period, approximately 18,500 to 14,500 years ago. The cave was first discovered in 1868 by the Spanish archaeologist Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, and it was not until the early 20th century that the cave paintings were recognized as some of the oldest and most impressive artworks in the world.

The cave is composed of two main chambers, the main chamber and the smaller chamber. The main chamber is where the majority of the paintings are located, with the most iconic painting being the “Sistine Chapel” of the cave, the “Polychrome Ceiling”. This painting is composed of red and black pigments and depicts a herd of bison, horses and other animals.

The Altamira Cave is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in Europe. It is open to the public, with visitors able to take guided tours of the cave and explore its numerous paintings.


Get a Little Batty in Bulgaria's Magura Cave

Get a Little Batty in Bulgaria's Magura Cave As one of the largest caves discovered in Bulgaria, the Magura Cave in the north west of this sunny tourist destination is one of the most revealing with regard to how our ancestors lived between 8,000 and 4,000 years ago. Here human hands created some 700 prehistoric cave paintings that depict a large variety of animal species but which also show how humans hunted, danced and enjoyed themselves around their camp fires. The paintings were created with bat excrement (bat guano), widely available at prehistoric cave stores at the time.


The Magura Cave is a treasure trove of ancient stories captured on walls, a natural gallery where history is literally etched in stone. Its chilly corridors echo with the whispers of the past, as visitors walk in the dimly lit paths where prehistoric people once roamed. It's not just the art that attracts history buffs and adventurers alike but also the remarkable acoustic properties of the cave, which might have been used for ancient rituals. Imagine standing where early humans stood, amidst the silence, interrupted only by the fluttering wings of bats and the soft drips of stalactites forming over millennia.


Prehistoric Life Was Pretty Colorful at BHIMBETKA, Central India

Prehistoric Life Was Pretty Colorful at BHIMBETKA, Central India More than 600 rock shelters at Bhimbetka show how people spent their time while living in caves some 12,000 years ago. Here the prehistoric cave paintings are full of color, with red and white featuring heavily, as well as yellow and green. The animals depicted range from crocodiles to bisons, lions and tigers. Many of these prehistoric rock paintings show how humans lived though, making them incredibly valuable to research into humanity as a whole.


Bhimbetka is a site of prehistoric cave paintings located in the Vindhyan Mountains of Central India. It is known for its rich collection of rock art, which dates back to the Mesolithic period and is estimated to be 12,000 years old. The paintings are mostly in red, white, yellow and green, and depict a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, bison, and crocodiles. The paintings also show depictions of human activities such as hunting, dancing, and religious ceremonies.

Bhimbetka is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important sites for prehistoric art in the world. It is a great destination for travelers looking to explore the history and culture of ancient India. The site is open to the public and offers guided tours. Visitors can also explore the nearby caves, which are believed to have been used by prehistoric man as dwellings.


You Can't Hold a Crafty Graffiti Kid down, Not Even at Cueva De Las Manos, Patagonia

You Can't Hold a Crafty Graffiti Kid down, Not Even at Cueva De Las Manos, Patagonia Dating back to between 13,000 and 9,500 years ago, the prehistoric cave paintings at Cueva de las Manos could best be described as early graffiti. Most of the paintings are stencilled outlines of left hands, hence the name of the cave: Cave of the Hands. The technique involved one young artist pressing his left hand against the rock face and then using a spray pipe loaded with paint to create the outline. Eat your heart out, Banksy! Perhaps the most moving of the paintings are those that display animals such as rheas and guanacos and various hunting scenes. They bring us closer to the people who lived in these isolated and wild Patagonian landscapes tens of thousands of years ago.


By blowing ochre and charcoal through hollow bones, these ancient taggers created hand silhouettes that almost seem to wave across the ages. The cave serves as a poignant reminder that the human desire to make a mark, to declare 'I was here,' is as old as time itself. Las Cuevas paints a vivid picture of the extinct cultures and their spiritual beliefs, with the handprints believed to possess shamanic or ceremonial significance. Imagine the awe-inspiring moment when, amidst the stark, rugged beauty of Patagonia, early humans connected their stories with ours through the simple yet profound act of painting.


See Hotly Debated Prehistoric Cave Paintings at Serra Da Capivara National Park, Brazil

See Hotly Debated Prehistoric Cave Paintings at Serra Da Capivara National Park, Brazil Some experts believe the prehistoric cave paintings discovered in rock shelters in the Serra da Capivara National Park in northeast Brazil are ca. 25,000 years old, cheerfully flying in the face of the general consensus that human settlement of the Americas didn't happen until much later in history. Never mind when they were created, this prehistoric rock art is simply beautiful, showing trees and animals as well as humans busily going about their daily lives, conducting rituals and hunting for food!


Monitor Climate Change at Tadrart Acacus, Western Libya

Monitor Climate Change at Tadrart Acacus, Western Libya It seems not just the British have been obsessed with weather through the ages – some 12,000 years ago, early weather presenters entertained their fellow cave dwellers with depictions of climate changes seen in the Sahara desert. Here prehistoric cave paintings date from 12,000 BC to 100 AD, recording the times when the Sahara saw far more rainfall than today. Around 9,000 AD the weather forecast would have included plenty of rain, for at that time the Sahara sported luscious green areas with forests and lakes, where huge herds of animals, such as ostriches, giraffes and elephants roamed free, finding plenty of food and water.


See America's Oldest Rock Art at Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau, USA

See America's Oldest Rock Art at Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau, USA The prehistoric cave paintings at the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee are simply stunning, depicting Native American life 6,000 years ago. Animal images dominate, and there is a whole collection of hunting scenes spread across some 60 or so caves, but there are also many mythical characters that represent the Native American spiritual beliefs. There are wolves, foxes and jackals, reptiles and human images as well as anthropomorphs (basically a human figure depicted in mythical form, with exaggerated fingers, horns or huge eyes). Some of the most accessible caves can be found in Clarksville, where the Dunbar and Mud Glyph Caves are located.


These ancient depictions offer a snapshot into the past, providing a rare connection to early Americans. Guided tours weave visitors through this historical labyrinth, stirring the imagination and offering a detailed narration of the stories behind these archaic images. It is a poignant reminder of the region's depth of history and the importance of preserving such cultural treasures. For an even more immersive experience, some tours offer the chance for hands-on activities, where travelers can create their own representations inspired by this intriguing rock art.


Probably the GRANDDADDY of Them All – the Lascaux Caves in France

Probably the GRANDDADDY of Them All – the Lascaux Caves in France The painted caves in Lascaux Southern France are so impressive the complex has the nickname of the “Prehistoric Sistine Chapel” and are probably the most famous prehistoric cave paintings in the world. The most magnificent are to be found in the Great Hall of the Bulls, where there are lots of pictures of bulls, deer and horses. One bull alone is 17 feet long and currently is the largest single depiction known anywhere. The paintings are found quite deep into the cave complex so the prehistoric painters would most certainly have needed to use lighting – 17,000 years ago! Sadly, the caves are no longer open to the public as visitors over the years have damaged the works of art and the cave structure.

Are you fascinated by prehistory? I love to visit ancient sites and am lucky that Britain has some great places to visit. Where have you been that you’d like to tell us about?

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

Your article is interesting ,but you have forgotten and interesting cave . Azerbaijan Qobustan the cave from there dates bac to 10.000 BC

You forgot to mention the painting in the top of the page. Where is it?

#7 Amazing that you are commenting about the year 9000 AD as if it is in the past...

At the Lascaux site, there is a complete duplicate of the caves and art, Lascaux IV, that is open to the public

#2 lovely

#3 wow\



Related Topics

most famous christmas scenes arch example must do marseille places to visit in north africa place to visit in key west things to do in mykonos eiffel tower new years places to go in baltimore funny uk place names kansas city tourism attractions

Popular Now