TORONTO – Archaeologists have discovered more ancient cave art in Italy, more than 100 years after the first images were discovered there in 1905.

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The discovery of Palaeolithic art in Romanelli cave is given in December issue of Antiquity magazine, where archaeologists report seeing new images of a bird, a bovid (hoofed mammal) and geometric designs.

The team of archaeologists, geologists and paleontologists was coordinated by Raffaele Sardella of Sapienza of the University of Rome and carried out the first systematic survey of a cave located on Italy’s southeast coast and just seven meters above the Adriatic Sea – making it difficult to had gone. To explore the past.


The cave was first discovered in 1874, but access issues meant that it was not investigated property for decades, and the first cave art discovery was not recorded until 1905. It is divided into two parts, a collapsed main chamber from which large boulders have fallen. ceiling, and an inner chamber.

Past excavations of the cave have found deposits of animal bones, a small amount of human bones, and several portable art objects – including pieces of stone that could have fallen from ceilings or walls. The art in the main room is located high in a frieze, while the art in the interior is located in two small alcoves on the walls.

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The newly identified artwork includes a bovid, geometric pattern created using “moonmilk” which is a soft white material that forms in limestone caves, and a “rare depiction of a bird”, most likely an another. , according to the magazine. Other auk figures have been found in cave art in Spain and France.

According to the journal, birds were not often depicted in Palaeolithic art, making this discovery particularly important. The details in the piece, including three small lines close to the eye of the figure, resemble a colored strip of feathers grown by the now extinct great auk during the winter.

The magazine says that the images share similarities with other cave art discovered in Italy, France, Spain and other parts of Azerbaijan, and show that the artists used many tools to create their art.

The poor state of preservation of the art required archaeologists to be extraordinarily careful, using photography and advanced image editing software, to avoid direct contact with the rock surface.

“They [the new images] confirm the existence of a shared visual heritage across a wide part of Eurasia during the Late Upper Paleolithic [period], opening new questions about social dynamics and the spread of common symbolic motifs around the Mediterranean basin,” said Dario Sigri of the Université degli Study di Ferrara, whose team has been studying the cave since 2016.

Sigari noted that there are indications that this shared heritage may extend to North Africa and the Caucasus, and his team’s excavations of the cave determined that the cave was in use between 11,000 and 14,000 years ago.

“These new dates and the fact the images are layered on each other, suggest that the cave was used for a longer period than previously thought, with many episodes of art-making,” he said.