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The next phase of surviving European prehistoric painting, the rock art of the Iberian Mediterranean Basin, was very different, concentrating on large assemblies of smaller and much less detailed figures, with at least as many humans as animals.This was created roughly between 10,000 and 5,500 years ago, and painted in rock shelters under cliffs or shallow caves, in contrast to the recesses of deep caves used in the earlier (and much colder) period.
The most common subjects in cave paintings are large wild animals, such as bison, horses, aurochs, and deer, and tracings of human hands as well as abstract patterns, called finger flutings.The paintings are remarkably similar around the world, with animals being common subjects that give the most impressive images.Humans mainly appear as images of hands, mostly hand stencils made by blowing pigment on a hand held to the wall.The oldest date given to an animal cave painting is now a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old at Timpuseng cave in Sulawesi, an Indonesian island.Indonesian and Australian scientists have dated other non-figurative paintings on the walls to be approximately 40,000 years old.The method they used to confirm this was dating the age of the stalactites that formed over the top of the paintings.
The art is similar in style and method to that of the Indonesian caves as there were also hand stencils and disks made by blowing paint onto the walls.A ceremonial gathering place known as a causewayed enclosure has been revealed with the discovery of a series of encircling ditches, artificial boundaries with gap entrances, at a vast site in Berkshire.Archaeologists have found extensive quantities of animal bones as well as decorated pottery sherds, and evidence that pots were deliberately smashed, perhaps as festivities came to a boisterous close.There are similar later paintings in Africa, Australia and South America, continuing until recent times in some places, though there is a worldwide tendency for open air rock art to succeed paintings deep in caves.Nearly 340 caves have now been discovered in France and Spain that contain art from prehistoric times.The earliest known cave paintings/drawings of animals are at least 35,000 years old and were found in caves in the district of Maros, located in Bantimurung district, South Sulawesi, Indonesia, according to datings announced in 2014.