Early female painters painted--in caves. A study reveals this

According to a study done by Spanish and English universities, women played an active role in rock art

According to a multidisciplinary study carried out by Spanish and British universities, particularly from the sites of Alcalá de Henares, Granada, Barcelona and Durham, women played an active role in rock art. Indeed, it seems that it was not only men who made these artistic representations.

The group of scholars gave for the first time a scientific answer on this issue: with a probability of 80 percent, these are works made by both males and females. The study was published in the scientific journal Antiquity, where it is stated that “determining the sex and age of the author(s) allows us to define more precisely the social context in which the work was made and whether it was created by an individual act or by a ’collective.’” It is shown “for the first time that individuals of both sexes, including adults and subadults, participated in this art, challenging assumptions of male attribution.”

To analyze this issue, experts focused on the Los Machos cave and identified two "exceptional and unique fingerprints left by one or two authors" on the cave paintings. The pictorial representation has been almost completely preserved due to its location, as it is in the deepest part of the cave and in the upper portion, thus not exposed to wind and weather. To determine the age and sex of the perpetrators, experts compared these fingerprints (which they photographed) with more than five hundred fingerprints of the index finger of the right hand belonging to young and adult Spanish individuals of today, and it turned out that the prints found on the rock are of two different individuals: an adult man, about 36 years old, and a woman (80 percent of them) or, however, a young person.

As Lourdes Prados, a professor of archaeology at the Autonomous University of Madrid, wrote, “It is a matter of finding more information about those areas where archaeological study indicates to us that women played an active role in various activities, and that, of course, varies according to ages and cultures.”

Pictured, an archaeologist looks at cave paintings in Los Machos Cave Ph. Credit FRANCISCO MARTÍNEZ-SEVILLA

Early female painters painted--in caves. A study reveals this
Early female painters painted--in caves. A study reveals this

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