The Cave and the Cathedral: How a Real-Life Indiana Jones and a Renegade Scholar Decoded the Ancient Art of Man
Amir D. Aczel
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What Are The Ancients Trying To Tell Us?
"Why would the Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherers of Europe expend so much time and effort to penetrate into deep, dark, and dangerous caverns, where they might encounter cave bears and lions or get lost and die, aided only by the dim glow of animal fat–burning stone candles, often crawling on all fours for distances of up to a mile or more underground . . . to paint amazing, haunting images of animals?"
—From The Cave and the Cathedral
Join researcher and scientist Amir D. Aczel on a time-traveling journey through the past and discover what the ancient caves of France and Spain may reveal about the origin of language, art, and human thought as he illuminates one of the greatest mysteries in anthropology.
"A well-researched and highly readable exploration of one of the most spectacular manifestations of the unique human creative spirit–and one of its most intriguing mysteries."
—Ian Tattersall, Curator, Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, and author of The Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know about Human Evolution
spaces. Another fifty spaces are available on the day of the visit, on a first-come, first-served basis. This results in a huge line that forms as early as 6 A.M. every day, with people standing for hours hoping to get a place for later in the day—even as late as 4 P.M., just before closing. Inevitably, most of them are turned away. But despite the long wait and the early rise to beat the crowd and be one of the first fifty, and the return to the cave entrance at the specified time when one is
other common colors were yellow and brown, produced from various minerals found in the ground. The pigments were mixed in a water solution that was held in a stone cup similar to those used for lighting. The artists seem to have understood perspective—an incredible achievement for people living more than twenty millennia ago. And the horses of Pech Merle attest to the invention of pointillism a thousand generations before our time. Art historians have been baffled by how much our distant
miles southeast of Stonehenge discovered a burial site and unearthed the remains of a middle-aged man who had a very badly hurt leg, which would have allowed him to walk only with great difficulty Next to him were found the remains of a younger man, perhaps a son or a relative. The burial ground included gold jewelry and other valuable items of the time. A comprehensive chemical analysis of the teeth of the two men revealed that while the young one was from the area, the older man had come from
and studied at the Sorbonne, where he wrote a dissertation on the archaeology of the north Pacific. He became aware of the prehistory of other regions of the world before addressing his native country’s cave art, brought to his attention by his student Annette Laming-Emperaire, whose contributions to his own theories he readily acknowledged in his books. After serving in the French Resistance in World War II, Leroi-Gourhan took up research positions in England, the United States, and Japan. In
some of these deep caverns. But somehow, Ruben de la Vialle made it alone all the way in. He saw this great art, and he made it back out of the cave. His footsteps have been found in the cave, showing his way in and out. There are also footsteps of the Paleolithic people who made the art and those of ancient visitors who entered the cave still in the Ice Age, a couple of thousand years after the artists had left. These Ice Age visitors were two women and two young children, as revealed by an