Missives from lost times

Photo courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Photo courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.ukPhoto courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Photo courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

The image of a freshly killed animal engraved on a rock marked the beginning of art. Yes, art lifted us out of brutish to sublime.

It might have taken eons for us to reach where we stand today. Now we are in the midst of several art movements. Of them, abstract painting is considered to be the highly developed form of expression.

It all began with an unknown artist sitting in his cave-home scrawling images on the wall.  We have come a long way since.
But that first stroke of a chisel or a pointed tool was a great step.  We are not yet certain who could have been the first to do it.
Was it by modern humans or those ancient Neanderthals? Doubts and debates continue. Many attribute it to Neanderthals.
Engravings found in Gorham’s cave hold this true. The natural sea cave in British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is now in the middle of a heated academic debate.

It all started in 2012.  Joaquín Rodríguez-Vidal of the University of Huelva said that the engravings were “the best known example of abstract art”.

His statement contradicted the existing notions about the Neanderthals. Many considered these ancients as unintelligent crude humans who disappeared about 40,000 years ago.

With this statement by Joaquín Rodríguez-Vidal, scientific community once again is interested in Neanderthals.

Now researchers admit that Neanderthals were far more intelligent and creative than previously thought.

A new study published in research journal PANS says that engravings confirmed Neanderthals’ ‘abstract expression’.

According to Professor Paul Tacon from Griffith University, Australia, the engravings were done with great effort for ritual purposes. It could as well have served communicative purposes.

Another study on the site reveals that Neanderthals were more civilized than previously thought. They lived in community, dined on roast pigeons and buried their dead.

Amazingly, remains of 150 ancient bird species were found in the cave. It shows that they had the knowledge of catching and roasting the birds. 

Alongside the evolution of humans, art also evolved from its crude form to what it is now the great form of self-expression.