Cave Art Discussion

Topic 1: Cave Art

Required Reading:

Kevin Reilly,  The Human Journey, Chapter 1 (For students who are waiting for their textbook to arrive I have added the reading  here. Please click on the following links for Chapter 1. It is a large download that will take a minute or so. These readings are provided under fair use guidelines.

Website: Introduction to the Cave Paintings of the Chauvet Cave –

Primary Sources:

Discussion Prompts:

After reading Chapter 1 and the material at the websites, and viewing the videos, please make a 250-word initial post that answers the following questions about the primary sources:

The images you see in the caves are primary sources for historical analysis. What do the images in the caves depict? Why might they have been made? What can the depictions tell you about the people and society who made them? What can’t they tell you?


Cave art is a form of prehistoric rock art found in caves across the world. The primary sources for the analysis of cave art are the images found in the caves themselves. The images in the caves depict a variety of subjects including animals, human figures, and abstract symbols. These images are believed to have been made by early human societies for various reasons such as religious or spiritual rituals, as a form of storytelling, or to record important events or experiences.

The depictions in cave art can tell us about the people and society who made them by providing insight into their beliefs, values, and cultural practices. For example, the presence of hunting scenes in cave art suggests that hunting was an important activity for these societies and provides insight into their subsistence practices. Additionally, the intricate details and realism in the animal depictions suggest a deep knowledge of the animals and their behavior, as well as a strong cultural reverence for them.

However, the cave art depictions cannot tell us everything about the people and society who made them. For example, the cave art does not provide us with information about the social structure, language, or political systems of these societies. It is also unclear who made the art, whether it was created by a single individual or by the community as a whole.

In conclusion, the images in the caves serve as valuable primary sources for historical analysis, providing us with a glimpse into the beliefs, values, and cultural practices of early human societies. While the cave art depictions cannot tell us everything about these societies, they still offer important insights into our human journey and our early ancestors.


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