Top 10 Oldest Art Ever Discovered

Art has been a part of expression since the evolution of the mankind. The discovery of pre-historic sculptures, cave art suggest that different form of arts were practiced throughout the evolution of mankind. Even though the way of expressing ideas through art was different at that time, it can be predicted that the way of expressing, inner emotion through different form of art was existed . It was initially believed that oldest art and partings existed mainly in the Europe. The discovery of the various cave art in Indonesia, raised a new question among the Archaeologist. The fascinating sculpture, cave art around the different part of Africa, Indonesia indicate that art was practice widely in different part around the world. Here is the list of the 10 oldest art ever discovered in the history.

10. Venus of Hohle Fels (38,000-33,000 BCE)

Venus of Hohle Fels oldest art

The precious and unique sculpture created during the Aurignacian culture was dated to the period 38,000-33,000 BCE. Discovered in Southwestern Germany, the small ivory carving of female figure was known as The Venus of Hohle Fels or the Venus of Schelklingen. It was discovered in 2008 by the team of an archaeological team led by Nicholas J. Conard of Universität Tübingen Abteilung Ältere Urgeschichte und Quartärökologie.

9. Lion Man of the Hohlenstein Stadel (38,000 BCE)

Lion Man of the Hohlenstein Stadel 38,000 history art

Discovered in the Cave of Hohlenstein Mountain, located in the Swabian Jura of southwest Germany, Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stade is the oldest known anthropomorphic animal carving.  The 38,000 BCE sculpture was the earliest art work that includes a male figure in Europe. Stadel cave is also among the three caves that has able to produce important paleontological discovery. The 11 inches Lion man was carved using a simple flint-cutting tools. The outstanding piece was discovered in 1939 by archaeologist Robert Wetzel

8. Sulawesi Cave Art (37,900 BCE)

Sulawesi Cave Art  37,900 BCE

Sulawesi Cave Art consists of hand stencil dating to at least 37,900 BCE. It was one of the oldest paintings of its type ever discovered in the world. It is the second oldest painting in the world after EL Castillo Cave Paintings dated around 39,000 BC. Discovered in the Sulawesi – it was one of the treasures for pre historic artworks and pre-human study that carried out a revolution in the study of evolution of mankind.

7. El Castillo Cave Paintings (Red Disk) (39,000 BCE)

El Castillo Cave Paintings

The oldest of its kind, the stone cave painting contains the abstracts, sign and hand stencils rock art. Out of the variety of paintings discovered in Cave of El Castillo by archaeologist Hermilio Alcalde del Rio, Gallery of the Hands – “a disk of red ochre” was tested with Uranium/Thorium and dated at least 39,000 BCE. It still contradicts whether Neanderthal or Homo sapiens paint the cave. Neanderthal existed in the Europe before 40,000 but they began to extinct, when Homo sapiens migrated to Europe from Africa.

The first art appears in the form of ivory carving makes most of the leading expert in the field to believed that Homo sapiens (modern human) were responsible for the painting. However, there is no strong evidence to support it.

6. La Ferrassie Cave Petroglyphs (60,000 BCE)

La Ferrassie Cave Petroglyphs

The Neanderthal cave, situated in southwest France is widely famous for cupule- a primitive form of rock art dated 60,000 BCE. It is one of the oldest prehistoric art in Europe. The extinction of Neanderthal man after 40,000 BCE suggest that the date is close to around 70,000 to 40,000. Cupules is the ancient form of anthropic art that exist on populated continent and were practiced around the three eras of Stone Age.

5. Diepkloof Eggshell Engravings (60,000 BCE)

Diepkloof Eggshell Engravings (60,000 BCE)

Discovered in Diepkloof Rock Shelter in Western Cape, South Africa, Diepkloof Eggshell Engravings is another marvelous cave engravings dated approximately 60,000 BCE. It was found incised in Ostrich eggshell, engraved with an abstract art such as crosshatching, geometric motifs.

4. Blombos Cave Engravings (70,000 BCE)

Blombos Cave Engravings

One of the oldest sub-Saharan African art, Blombos Cave Rock Art contains two pieces of ochre rock incised with geometric abstract signs and a series of beads made from Nassarius kraussianus shells. It was discovered in 2002, which is dated around (70,000 BCE). The discovery of the arts suggests that pre human of that time were capable of generating and understanding symbols and abstraction.

See Also,

Top 10 outstanding ancient Roman arts

3. Venus of Tan-Tan (200,000-500,000 BCE)

Venus of Tan-Tan

Roughly around 6 cm length and 2cm width, Venus of Tan-Tan is one of the oldest artwork in prehistoric sculpture discovered in the river Draa near the Moroccan town of Tan-Tan. It was predicted that the artwork was done by pre Homo sapiens era.

2. Venus of Berekhat Ram (230-700,000 BCE)

Venus of Tan-Tan old pre history art

Surrounded by the controversy, Venus of Berekhat Ram was another oldest prehistoric sculpture ever discovered. Some paleontologists take it as the natural science erosion rather than created by human creativity. It was discovered on Golan Height between Syria and Israel in 1981 by archeologist N. Goren-Inbar (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). It was predated before Homo sapiens and Neanderthal and was created by earlier hominid like Homo erectus

1. Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan Cupules (290-700,000 BCE)

Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan Cupules oldest art of all time

One of the oldest prehistoric art ever discovered dated around 700,000 BCE is almost 4 times older than the Blombos Cave art. It was discovered in two ancient quartzite caves in the Madhya Pradesh region of central India.

Final Conclusion:

These discoveries suggest that different forms of art were practiced throughout the evolution of mankind. Cave art was widely common and perhaps the only art from prehistoric times that was preserved.

7 thoughts on “Top 10 Oldest Art Ever Discovered”

  1. I love this I think I will make a presentation to my class I originally wanted to do human physical evolution but this is awesome

  2. I have seen some wonderful ancient rock art at Kakadu, Northern Territory, Australia by Aboriginal people. This rock art is supposedly dated 40,000 old. How come there is no mention of this art?

      • The paintings at Altamira are not nearly as old as any of the work in this list. Altamira and Lascaux are widely held as the oldest forms of human artwork, but that’s a very ignorant, Western-centric view which has long been outdated.

  3. Sam, Australian art is dated at about 25-38,000 BCE so it lies right on the edge of the last few in the list. It is definitely nowhere near the top 6, but maybe, just maybe as old or older than the bottom 4.
    Hope that helps.

  4. Thanks so much. I love looking at this ancient art. Fascinating. Valentine Michael Smith is right about the poor writing though. I just tried to fix your last paragraph, as an example, but it’s so poorly written that it is very hard to do so. You state the obvious and say more then needs to be said. If you want help editing the whole thing, email me. I’d be glad to help. For free.
    Maybe you could say this: “Final Conclusion: These discoveries suggest that different forms of art were practiced throughout the evolution of mankind. Cave art was widely common and perhaps the only art from prehistoric times that was preserved.” (Your last sentence makes no sense at all. You mention, “natural occurrence – which this art is not – and it is unclear to what you are referring. But perhaps my sentence makes more sense?)

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