Students have read about the Paleolithic Age and prehistoric people. In this exercise, students will view the earliest known works of art, the Paleolithic paintings and engravings found in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave.
Students will use information from The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave Web site to learn about the discovery of Paleolithic art. Students will browse the Web site, viewing the art and reading about its significance. Students will then answer four questions and apply this information by drawing their own sketches of the illustrations in the Chauvet Cave.
- Students will examine examples of Paleolithic art to learn about prehistoric people and the animals that lived 32,000 years ago.
- Students will be able to use this knowledge to imagine they are archaeologists and draw sketches of the art of the Chauvet Cave.
Student Web Activity Answers
- Traces of human beings include flintstones and the remains of torches and campfires. In May 1999 the footprint of an 8- to 10-year-old boy, the earliest known Homo sapien footprint in Europe, was discovered.
- Scientists determined that the paintings and engravings were authentic by examining the way the paintings had eroded, the microscopic crystallizations in the engravings, the features of the animals depicted by the artists, and the characteristics of the ground within the cave.
- Generally, Paleolithic art depicts animals that were hunted. 62% of the art in this cave is of dangerous beasts that people did not hunt. The art includes rhinoceroses, lions, bears, and mammoths. Additionally, the techniques used to draw the beasts are much more sophisticated than expected.
- Bones of the cave bear are scattered everywhere within the cave. There are some well-preserved skeletons and skulls of cave bears as well as lairs marked by traces of fur. Additionally, scratch marks from bears are scattered among the paintings and engravings.
- Students' sketches will vary.
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