Though it may be hard to believe, modern humans have been on Earth for hundreds of thousands of years. Thanks to ongoing scientific research, we've been able to find out more and more about our own past and how our ancestors lived and evolved long ago. One recent study has discovered a cave in Spain that reveals insights into the life of ancient humans through art.
Cueva de Ardales, a cave in Málaga, Spain, has become well-known for the over 1,000 paintings and engravings it contains, made by prehistoric humans. Not only that, but several artifacts and human remains were found at the site as well. "Our research presents a well-stratified series of more than 50 radiometric dates in Cueva de Ardales that confirm the antiquity of Paleolithic art from over 65,000 years ago," explained the team researching the cave. But how exactly was this cave used by its ancient inhabitants? Until now, scientists haven't exactly been sure - but the results of the first excavations of the cave recently published were able to give us new information about the history of human culture in the region.
Thanks to radiometric dating, combined with an analysis of remains and artifacts within the cave, researchers now have evidence that the cave was probably first inhabited by Neanderthals. Since then, groups of humans have come and gone, occupying it from time to time until the beginning of the Copper Age. The interior of the cave is lined with old artwork, consisting of red colors in the form of dots, fingertips, and hand stencils. Later artwork, on the other hand, shows figures such as animals.
Researchers found that the human remains in the cave may indicate that it was used as a burial site, while there is little evidence of domestic activity, suggesting that humans may not have actually lived there. "The traces of human activity are ephemeral and point out to very specific activities related to the symbolic use of the cave," the study revealed. Although the cave may be tens of thousands of years old, it seems to harbor the history of countless cultures practiced by our own ancestors. And if there's one thing we've learned about the history of life on Earth, it's that the deeper we dig, the more fascinating discoveries there are to make. Be sure to stay tuned for more breaking news!