Study: Prehistoric Artists Were Children
October 4, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
ROUFFIGNAC, France, Oct. 3 (UPI) — Children, some as young as 3 years old, created prehistoric etchings found in a cave in France, researchers say.
The so-called finger flutings, made by hands run along the cave’s soft surfaces, were discovered at the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths in Rouffignac, alongside cave art dating back about 13,000 years, the BBC reported.
Researchers at Cambridge University researchers recently developed a method to identify the gender and age of the artists.
“We have found marks by children aged between 3 and 7 years old — and we have been able to identify four individual children by matching up their marks,” archaeologist Jessica Cooney said.
Unlike the paintings that appear elsewhere in the caves, the flutings are made without the application of a color pigment, leaving lines in the walls of the caves.
“One cavern is so rich in flutings made by children that it suggests it was a special space for them, but whether for play or ritual is impossible to tell,” Cooney said.
“We don’t know why people made them.”
They may have been part of “initiation rituals,” she said, or “simply something to do on a rainy day.”