Saturday, September 27, 2014


Gorham Cave, Gibraltar.

A September 1, 2014, posting in by Alan Neuhauser, reported the attribution of an engraved crosshatching on the wall of Gorham Cave in Gibraltar to the period of Neandertal occupation.

Crosshatch markings from Gorham

“An international team of researchers announced the discovery this week of one of the oldest pieces of cave art ever found: a 39,000-year-old, roughly 10’ by 10’ crosshatch engraving into the bedrock of a seaside cave in Gibraltar.  Researchers believe it took 188 to 317 strokes with a sharp object to create.”

“ - - the engraving is both the first ever to be found in a cave also used for habitation by Neanderthals, and also “demonstrates the capacity of the Neanderthals for abstract thought and expression,” according to a paper on the findings, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
We not only have the original markings to go on, the researchers additionally used experimental archaeology to reconstruct the markings in order to study the process of creating it.  The lines, found at the back of the cave, are believed to have been made by repeatedly drawing a sharp object across the rock over and over again. Researchers used blocks of limestone and 3-D modeling to reconstruct the process, finding that it likely took 188 to 317 strokes to complete the art piece.

I have previously stated on RockArtBlog my confidence in the existence of Neandertal rock art, and have illustrated some examples that I consider to back up that confidence. In this instance, however, we have confirmation from the National Academy of Sciences.


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