Some of the oldest art in the world is the subject of this riveting and beautiful book. Paul Bahn and Jean Vertut explore carved objects and wall art discoveries from the Ice Age, covering the period from 300,000 B.P. to 10,000 B.P., and their collaboration marks a signal event for archaeologists and lay readers alike. [via]
Utilizing the most modern analytical techniques in archaeology, Bahn presents new accounts of Russian caves only recently opened to foreign specialists; the latest discoveries from China and Brazil; European cave finds at Cosquer, Chauvet, and Covaciella; and the recently discovered sites in Australia. He also studies sites in Africa, India, and the Far East. Included are the only photographic images of many caves that are now closed to protect their fragile environments. A separate chapter in the book examines art fakes and forgeries and relates how such deceptions have been exposed.
The beliefs and preoccupations of Paleolithic peoples resonate throughout this book: the importance of the hunt and the magic and shamanism surrounding it, the recording of the seasons, the rituals of sex and fertility, the cosmology and associated myths. Yet enigmas and mysteries emerge as well, particularly as new analytical techniques raise new questions and cast doubt on our earlier suppositions.
A comprehensive, up-to-date analysis of all that has been discovered about Ice Age art, Bahn and Vertut's book offers a visually rich link with the past.