In December, when everyone was decorating their tree and busily preparing for Christmas, Brecon Beacons Young Archaeologists’ Club was learning about cave art in the Palaeolithic. The session started with everyone crawling with a torch through our very own homemade cave, with reproductions of some of the world’s best and most famous examples of cave art adorning the walls to get a feel of what it might have been like for our early ancestors creating and seeing such masterpieces in the dark.
After learning all about cave art, looking at examples, trying to understand the reasons why it might have been produced and taking a virtual tours around some famous examples (including the world famous Lascaux caves in France, which were discovered by four boys and their dog in 1940!) we tried our hand at making and recording some cave art ourselves. We drew pictures, we modelled clay, we photographed and we traced. The pièce de résistance was our recreation of the famous hand outlines found in El Castillo Cave in Northern Spain, which included members’ hands, leaders hands’ and some parents’ and grandparents’ hands too. We used blow pens to achieve the effect rather than chewing up pigmented rocks or charcoal and spitting it over our outstretched hands – a much cleaner 20th alternative, but the end result was quite similar.