News of the WeekArchaeology

Paintings in Italian Cave May Be Oldest Yet

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Science  20 Oct 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5491, pp. 419-421
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5491.419

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Stone slabs bearing images of an animal and a half-human, half-beast figure were uncovered during excavations by an Italian team at the Fumane Cave northwest of Verona. The images are believed to be at least as ancient as some found in the Grotte Chauvet in southern France--the current record holder at 32,000 years--and possibly even older. More important, cave art experts say, the new paintings bolster other evidence that humans engaged in sophisticated symbolic expression much earlier than once thought.