Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, “Why Did They Draw in Those Caves?” written by Jean Clottes, November 8, 2013, outlines prehistoric cave and rock art, and the reasons why they were made. Many art historians have had hypothesis on why cave art was created, however, Clottes suggests that these inferences are wrong. He suggests that historians do not take into account the fact that going into the deepest parts of caves, is something that is strange. He asks why they paint in caves, not just what do these paintings mean.
This question is actually quite valid, as it will bring more insight and a more accurate reason or story behind the paintings themselves. Clottes brings up the point that painting in the darkest, deepest parts of the caves are actually quite strange. So there should be a deeper meaning to this action to further explain what these drawings mean. He says that analyzing the art objectively is the wrong approach, and that they decide what details of the art should be left out when interpreting these works. He gives small anecdotes on his life, and his experience with cave exploration. He mentions that while in his teens, he noticed that some farmers were nervous about going into the caves. That there was something mysterious and dangerous about these caves, or caves on general. So, if farmers in this century aren’t willing to go into caves, why would prehistoric humans with no easy access to a light source?
The reason that was given, was that humans, all through time, were spiritual beings. He even went as far as saying that Homo spiritualis would have been a better name for us. This hypothesis is one that I absolutely agree with. I do believe that we are very spiritual beings and that is why we create art. To feel closer to whatever it is we believe in. This is exactly what
Clottes is saying. We are taught to believe that these beings have “primitive minds”. But the feeling these “artists” had going into the abyss essentially made the whole experience very
spiritual. And the things they created, animals, were to feel closer to them. And to feel closer to the material themselves. To feel closer to the cave. He gives the argument that people of
“primitive” cultures have many words for the different stages of one word. He says specifically,
“It is the same with animals, with more than 600 words for reindeer according to their age, sex, color, coat, antlers, etc.” We try to make it seem like primitive beings aren't capable of having spiritual intentions, but the author makes it seem like these beings are even more capable of being closer to God, or the earth.
He says that the caves themselves are a whole different world. I absolutely love the way he words this, that the paleolithic people were traveling into these caves deliberately, for…