We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
From a review of a new book by Gregory Curtis on cave art, in WaPo:
For centuries, cave art was ignored or dismissed as a clever prank. But in 1879, a Spanish scholar named Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola had a eureka moment when he was poking around in a cave called Altamira in Spain. He was overwhelmed by paintings of life-size bison on the cave's ceiling; this was, writes Curtis, "the first time we know of that an artist from the distant Stone Age touched the soul of a modern person." When Sautuola tried to publicize his findings, which linked the art to discoveries of prehistoric tools and carvings found on horns and other hard surfaces, archaeologists turned on him, mocking his conclusions with a savage fury. The great debate was on, and the theories and counter theories haven't stopped since. Curtis deftly leads us on a tour of contending interpretations, although some of the terms can be rather arcane.
We have been thrilled by the cave paintings for years! Family members, who are involved with the arts, can tell you about point of view, perspective, color, etc. But, for me it is about this--experience--the folks who were doing this art were recording exactly their experiences. The artist was telling his/her own personal story.
This is best exemplified in the newest cave discovered just a few years ago. In that cave there is one painting in which the painter is walking quietly into a herd of horses--he was not stalking them. His work puts us there--makes us feel exactly what it was like. How do I know this? Because, it feels exactly the same way today--walking into a herd of horses. The fact that he is not stalking tells us more about his life than perhaps archeologists have previously assumed.
Here is a thought: was it men or women, who were doing the art work?
I can't agree with R. Dale Guthrie's dismissive comment on the artists whose work is depicted in the various European caves. But I base my objection on the cave paintings in the Kalahari Desert some of which pre-date Lascaux by about 10,000 years. And the painting had continued until at least 1949. In that year I was conducted into one of these sacred places by a shaman of the 'Kung people, who was working on a painting of an elephant, and he was no teenage grafiti artist.
By the way the author I mentioned above, R. Dale Guthrie, dug up Blue Babe, the ice age bison that is on display at the University of Alaska museum around 25 years ago.
In 1979 local miners found a ice age steppe bison frozen in the permafrost. They contacted the University of Alaska and Dale Guthrie and a crew excavated it. Subsequent radio carbon dating showed it to be around 36,000 years old. Due to soil conditions etc., the carcass was a bright blue and the bison became known as Blue Babe.
Well.. the meat had been frozen for 36,000 years but it was still meat and it's a shame to waste meat. So... some of the crew decided to make a stew using a small portion of it.
Later I asked a crew member what the stewed 36,000 year old Steppe bison tasted like. He replied, "It tasted like dirt."