Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

An alternative chronology for the art of Chauvet cave

  • Paul Pettitt (a1) and Paul Bahn (a2)
Abstract

It is now 20 years since the discovery of the Grotte Chauvet with its impressive cave art, but controversy continues over the antiquity of the images. Radiocarbon assays have been used to argue that the ‘black series’ charcoal drawings date to the Aurignacian period, more than 20 000 years earlier than traditional stylistic models would suggest. This paper questions the validity of the radiometric dating and cautions against reliance solely on the date of the charcoal. Instead, the authors propose an alternative chronology for the art of Chauvet based on stylistic comparanda, palaeontological remains and stratigraphic evidence.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

C. Bon , N. Caudy , M. de Deiuleveult , P. Fosse , M. Philippe , F. Maksud , E. Beraud-Colomb , E. Bouzaid , R. Kefi , C. Laugier , B. Rousseau , D. Casane , J. van der Plicht & J.-M. Elalouf . 2008. Deciphering the complete mitochondrial genome and phylogeny of the extinct cave bear in the Paleolithic painted cave of Chauvet. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 105: 17447–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0806143105

C. Bon , V. Berthonaud , P. Fosse , B. Gély , F. Maksud , R. Vitalis , M. Philippe , J. van der Plicht & J.-M. Elalouf . 2011. Low regional diversity of late cave bears mitochondrial DNA at the time of the Chauvet Aurignacian paintings. Journal of Archaeological Science 38, 1886–95. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2011.03.033

J. Clottes & M. Azéma . 2005a. Les images de félins de la Grotte Chauvet. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 102: 173–82. http://dx.doi.org/10.3406/bspf.2005.13349

J. Combier & G. Jouve . 2014. Nouvelles recherches sur l’identité culturelle et stylistique de la Grotte Chauvet et sur sa datation par la méthode du 14C. L’Anthropologie 118: 115–51.

V. Feruglio & D. Baffier . 2005. Les dessins noirs des Salles Hillaire et du Crâne, Grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc: chronologie relative. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 102: 149–58.

P.B. Pettitt 2008. Art and the Middle to Upper Palaeolithic transition in Europe: comments on the archaeological arguments for an Early Upper Palaeolithic antiquity of the Grotte Chauvet art. Journal of Human Evolution 55: 908–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2008.04.003

A.W.G. Pike , D.L. Hoffman , M. García-Diez , P.B. Pettitt , J. Alcolea , C. González-Sainz , C. de las Heras , J.A. Lasheras , R. Montez & J. Zilhão . 2012. Uranium-series dating of Upper Palaeolithic art in Spanish caves. Science 336: 1409–13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1219957

J. Robert-Lamblin 2005. La symbolique de la Grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc sous le regard de l’anthropologie. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 102: 199208. http://dx.doi.org/10.3406/bspf.2005.13352

G. Tosello & C. Fritz . 2005. Les dessins noirs de la grotte Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc: essai sur leur originalité dans le site et leur place dans l’art aurignacien. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 102: 159–71. http://dx.doi.org/10.3406/bspf.2005.13348

H. Valladas , H. Cachier , P. Maurice , F. Bernaldo de Quiros , J. Clottes , V. Cabrera Valdés , P. Uzquiano & M. Arnold . 1992. Direct radiocarbon dates for prehistoric paintings at the Altamira, El Castillo and Niaux caves. Nature 357: 6870.

H. Valladas , N. Tisnérat-Laborde , H. Cachier , E. Kaltnecker , M. Arnold , C. Oberlin & J. Évin . 2005. Bilan des datations carbone 14 effectuées sur des charbons de bois de la grotte Chauvet. Bulletin de la Société Préhistorique Française 102: 109–13. http://dx.doi.org/10.3406/bspf.2005.13342

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary Materials

Pettitt and Bahn supplementary material
Supplementary material

 PDF (247 KB)
247 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 76 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 315 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.