| 3 December 2017
Upper Paleolithic cave painting found in the Urals
The ancient image of a two-humped camel has been discovered in the Kapova cave (Southern Urals). With the dating of cave painting being estimated to between 14,500 and 37,7000 years ago this artwork confirms the belief that artists in the Upper Paleolithic could migrate over long distances, especially as camels were not native to this region during this time.
The discovery was made by Eudald Guillamet, a restorative specialist from Andorra, who was invited by the State Office of Protection of Cultural Heritage of Bashikira to clean graffiti from the cave.
V.S. Zhitenev, who is the head of Moscow's State University's South Ural archaeological expedition and leading researcher for the Kapova and Ignatievskaya caves, commented: "This painting, cleared on the polychrome panel 'Horses and Signs', which has been well-known since the late 1970s, has no analogues in the art complexes of the caves of France and Spain, but does have some resemblance to the camel painting from the Ignatievskaya cave. Now it will probably become a significant image in the Upper Paleolithic cave bestiary of the Southern Urals,"
The long evolution of cave art in this region is supported by several factors, among which is the cave paintings depicting images of horses, bisons, mammoths, and wooly rhinoceroses, as well as local fauna, with analysis of stone tools confirming this assumption. The presence of the camel also confirms the Volga-Caspian direction of the connections made by people who sought shelter in the cave, which was earlier grounded in fossil shell ornaments form the Caspian Region.
In December, the archaeologists from Moscow State University will continue researching the Paleolithic art in the caves. This is due to the walls being much drier, making it easier to reveal the smallest details of the paintings. Further monitoring will also be done to study the dynamic factors surrounding the underground environment on geochemical processes related to the destruction of wall paintings.
Edited from EurekAlert! (27 November 2017)
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