Cave Art of Lascaux-N
Shaft of the Dead ManCave Art of LascauxDr. Judith ConwayThe FactsThe InterpretationsThe InterpretationsThe InterpretationsThe InterpretationsThis is a picture called the Shaft of the Dead Man. It was painted on a wall of a cave in Lascaux, in southwestern France. The paintings on the walls of this cave have been carbon dated to somewhere between 13,000 and 15,000 BC.There are some facts that we know about this cave painting.The cave was discovered on 12 September 1940 by four teenagers. There are several rooms in the cave, the Shaft of the Dead Man is but one.The paintings were made about 17,000 years ago. They were probably painted by cro-magnum man close to the advent of the last ice age. The paint was made with iron oxide and manganese mixed with water and animal fat. Charcoal was also used.In what is called the shaft of the dead man, we see a rhinoceros moving away from the scene of a human-like figure that seems to be lying down or dead, a bird on a stick, and a bull. Why the caves were painted is a matter of interpretation. There are several theories about the cave paintings.We know that most of the paintings that have been found are of animals. Perhaps the paintings are simply decorations, animals were chosen because they were important to the existence of the cave man. www.beaconlearningcenter.com/documents/1137_01.pdf Another theory is that they considered painting to be like magic to help the hunters. Perhaps if the artist could capture the image of the animal, then they could capture the animal in a hunt. Prehistoric man could have used the painting of animals on the walls of caves to tell the story of their hunting expeditions. Most of the paintings are of animals. However, there are a few paintings that have human figures, like the Shaft of the Dead Man. The face of the dead man is represented by a birds face, but it is the body of a human. Perhaps they did not want to portray a human face, thinking that it might take the soul.www.beaconlearningcenter.com/documents/1137_01.pdf The caves could be a prehistoric planetarium, the paintings, those of constellations.According to German researcher Dr Michael Rappenglueck, of the University of Munich, the eyes of the bull, birdman and bird represent the three prominent stars Vega, Deneb and Altair, known as the Summer Triangle. 17,000 years ago, this region of sky would never have set below the horizon. "It is a map of the prehistoric cosmos," Dr Rappenglueck told a BBC News Online reporter. "It was their sky, full of animals and spirit guides." http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/871930.stm Wednesday, 9 August, 2000, 01:00 GMT 02:00 UK Ice Age star map discovered By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse As we try to understand what the cave painting can tell us about life 17,000 years ago, it is important for us to keep in mind what is fact and what is interpretation.