Gallery: Amazing Cave Art

El Castillo Hands

The Panel of Hands at El Castillo cave.

(Image credit: Pedro Saura)

The Panel of Hands at El Castillo Cave in Spain. Researchers have now dated one of these hand stencils back to 37,300 years ago.

Ancient Hand Stencils

The Panel of Hands at El Castillo cave.

(Image credit: Pedro Saura)

A red pigment disk in the El Castillo Cave is older than 40,800 years. Some researchers suspect this primitive art may have been done by Neanderthals.

Hands, El Castillo

Panel of hands at El Castillo Spain

(Image credit: Pedro Saura)

To make these hand stencils, the artist blew or spit red pigment over his or her hand against the cave wall, leaving a handprint shape.

Red Disks

Red disk art at El Castillo cave in Spain

(Image credit: Pedro Saura)

Red disks dating to about 34,000 to 36,000 years ago at El Castillo Cave in Spain.

Polychrome Ceiling

Polychrome ceiling of Altamira Cave

(Image credit: Pedro Saura)

Spain's Altamira Cave is famous for its Polychrome Ceiling, seen here. A club-like form at the top right dates back 35,600 years at least, making it almost 20,000 years older than the bison paintings seen at the bottom of the picture.

Altamira Art

Polychrome ceiling of Altamira Cave

(Image credit: Pedro Saura)

The age of this club symbol at Altamira Cave reveals that artists made the caverns their palette for thousands of years.

Horse Art

Tito Bustillo Cave, Spain cave art.

(Image credit: Rodrigo De Balbin Behrmann)

These horses in Tito Bustillo Cave in Spain are painted over older red art that might date back more than 29,000 years.

Mixing Station

Pigment mixing block from La Pasiega Cave.

(Image credit: Alistair W.G. Pike)

A floor block from La Pasiega Cave in Spain. About 15,000 years ago, this block was probably used to mix pigment.

Sampling Cave Paintings

Sampling cave paintings at Tito Bustillo.

(Image credit: Rodrigo De Balbin Behrmann)

Researchers from the University of Bristol take samples from Tito Bustillo Cave, Spain.

Stalactite Sample

Stalactite in Tito Bustillo Cave in Spain

(Image credit: Rodrigo De Balbin Behrmann)

A researcher samples a stalactite at Tito Bustillo Cave. The red paint on the stalactite is between 29,000 to 36,000 years old.

Calcite Sampling

Alistair Pike sampling cave art

(Image credit: Marcos Garcia Diez)

Project leader Alistair Pike scraps minuscule amounts of calcite from a cave wall.