Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north and Macedonia to the west and Turkey to the south, with a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europes 16th-largest country. Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on current Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period and its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians, Persians, Romans, Goths and Huns. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State, the following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 it became a one-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc, in December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgarias transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.
Bulgarias population of 7.2 million people is predominantly urbanised, most commercial and cultural activities are centred on the capital and largest city, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are industry, power engineering. The countrys current political structure dates to the adoption of a constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative. Human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria can be traced back to the Paleolithic, animal bones incised with man-made markings from Kozarnika cave are assumed to be the earliest examples of symbolic behaviour in humans. Organised prehistoric societies in Bulgarian lands include the Neolithic Hamangia culture, Vinča culture, the latter is credited with inventing gold working and exploitation. Some of these first gold smelters produced the coins and jewellery of the Varna Necropolis treasure and this site offers insights for understanding the social hierarchy of the earliest European societies.
Thracians, one of the three primary groups of modern Bulgarians, began appearing in the region during the Iron Age. In the late 6th century BC, the Persians conquered most of present-day Bulgaria, and kept it until 479 BC. After the division of the Roman Empire in the 5th century the area fell under Byzantine control, by this time, Christianity had already spread in the region. A small Gothic community in Nicopolis ad Istrum produced the first Germanic language book in the 4th century, the first Christian monastery in Europe was established around the same time by Saint Athanasius in central Bulgaria. From the 6th century the easternmost South Slavs gradually settled in the region, in 680 Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube and settled in the area between the lower Danube and the Balkan, establishing their capital at Pliska
France, officially the French Republic, is a country with territory in western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The European, or metropolitan, area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, Overseas France include French Guiana on the South American continent and several island territories in the Atlantic and Indian oceans. France spans 643,801 square kilometres and had a population of almost 67 million people as of January 2017. It is a unitary republic with the capital in Paris. Other major urban centres include Marseille, Lille, Toulouse, during the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. The area was annexed in 51 BC by Rome, which held Gaul until 486, France emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, with its victory in the Hundred Years War strengthening state-building and political centralisation. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a colonial empire was established.
The 16th century was dominated by civil wars between Catholics and Protestants. France became Europes dominant cultural and military power under Louis XIV, in the 19th century Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire, whose subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War, the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains to this day. Algeria and nearly all the colonies became independent in the 1960s with minimal controversy and typically retained close economic. France has long been a centre of art, science. It hosts Europes fourth-largest number of cultural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and receives around 83 million foreign tourists annually, France is a developed country with the worlds sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest by purchasing power parity.
In terms of household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, France remains a great power in the world, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a member state of the European Union and the Eurozone. It is a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, originally applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name France comes from the Latin Francia, or country of the Franks
Capra is a genus of mammals, the goats or wild goats, composed of up to nine species, including the wild goat, the markhor, and several species known as ibex. The domestic goat is a subspecies of the wild goat. Evidence of goat domestication dates back more than 8,500 years, wild goats are animals of mountain habitats. They are very agile and hardy, able to climb on bare rock, the Rocky Mountain goat is in a separate genus, Oreamnos. All members of the Capra genus are bovids, and more specifically caprids, as such they are ruminants, meaning they chew the cud, and have four-chambered stomachs which play a vital role in digesting and redigesting their food. The genus has sometimes taken to include Ovis and Ammotragus. In this smaller genus, some authors have recognized two species, the markhor on one side and all other forms included in one species on the other side. Recent studies based on mitochondrial DNA suggest that the Siberian ibex and the Nubian ibex represent distinct species, the Alpine ibex forms a group with the Spanish ibex.
The West Caucasian tur appears to be closely related to the wild goat than to the East Caucasian tur. The markhor is relatively separated from other forms—previously it had been considered to be a separate branch of the genus. Almost all wild species are allopatric —the only geographical overlaps are the wild goat with the East Caucasian tur. In both cases, the species do not usually interbreed in the wild, but in captivity, all Capra species can interbreed. Along with sheep, goats were among the first domesticated animals, the domestication process started at least 10,000 years ago in what is now northern Iran. Easy human access to hair and milk were the primary motivations. Goat skins were used until the Middle Ages for water and wine bottles when traveling and camping. Evidence of the ibex is widely present in the record, particularly in the Near East. Ibex motifs are common on cylinder seals and pottery, both painted and embossed. Excavations from Minoan Crete at Knossos, for example, have yielded specimens from about 1800 BC, from the similar age a gold jewelry ibex image was found at the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini in present-day Greece
Croatia, officially the Republic of Croatia, is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, which one of the countrys primary subdivisions. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres and has diverse, mostly continental, Croatias Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The countrys population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, the Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia during the early part of the 7th century AD. They organised the state into two duchies by the 9th century, tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom. The Kingdom of Croatia retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries, reaching its peak during the rule of Kings Petar Krešimir IV and Dmitar Zvonimir, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102. In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of the House of Habsburg to the Croatian throne. In 1918, after World War I, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, a fascist Croatian puppet state backed by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany existed during World War II.
After the war, Croatia became a member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991 Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year, the Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully during the four years following the declaration. A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system, the International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. Croatia is a member of the European Union, United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, the service sector dominates Croatias economy, followed by the industrial sector and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue during the summer, with Croatia ranked the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world, the state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatias most important trading partner, since 2000, the Croatian government constantly invests in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors.
Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia, the rest is imported, the origin of the name is uncertain, but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan term assigned to a Slavic tribe. The oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of variable stem, the first attestation of the Latin term is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir from the year 852. The original is lost, and just a 1568 copy is preserved—leading to doubts over the authenticity of the claim, the oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir Inscription, where Duke Branimir is styled as Dux Cruatorvm. The inscription is not believed to be dated accurately, but is likely to be from during the period of 879–892, the area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period
The Magura Cave is located in north-western Bulgaria close to the village of Rabisha,25 km from the town of Belogradchik in Vidin Province. Guided visits are conducted by the staff of Belogradchik municipality, to which the management of the cave was transferred in 2012 by the Bulgarian Council of Ministers, in 1984 the site was induced into UNESCOs tentative list of World Heritage. The total length of the 15 million year old cave is 2.5 km, the average annual temperature of the cave is 12 °C, except for one room where the temperature is always 15 °C. The air humidity reaches 80% and the displacement -56 m, the Magura cave was formed in the limestone Rabisha Hill. The morphology of the consists of one main gallery with six various-sized halls. The very spacious site allows for music concerts to be held during Christmas, the inner temperature is constantly 11-12 °C. During the summers of 1974 and 1975 the cave was used for speleotherapy. Thirty patients slept in the cave for twelve nights, taking advantage of allergens absence, constant humidity.
A part of the cave is now used for ageing sparkling and red wines, labelled Magura, bones from different prehistoric species like cave bear, cave hyena, wolf, wild cat and otter have been discovered in the Magura Cave. Today, constant inhabitants of the cave is the collembola, as well as four types of bats, Cave paintings dating from the Epipaleolithic, late Neolithic and early Bronze Age decorate some of the caves walls. The paintings have been estimated to be made between 10.000 and 8.000 years ago, the drawings represent important events of the society that had occupied the Magura cave, religious ceremonies, hunting scenes and depictions of deities which are unique on the Balkan peninsula. The Fertility Dance and the Hunting Ceremony rank among the most noteworthy paintings, one grouping from the Bronze Age has been interpreted as a solar calendar. The cave paintings allowed storing information about regional solar calendar, religious festivals, contemporary imitations of possible fertility rites are reported — inscriptions in Latin and paintings made by treasure-hunters.
The medium used to create the art was bat guano, more than 750 images have been identified. Painted signs can be organised into four groups, zoomorphic, geometric. For the first group, there are bitriangular silhouettes with raised rounded arms, ithyphallic figures, regarding zoomorpic items, there are caprids, dogs, ostrich-like animals and schematic linear quadrupeds. Few rayed circle figures, mainly the two unica of the so-called calendar scene, likely represent a sun depiction, taking count of some associated figures, it is possible to recognize dancing and mating scenes. In the so-called Cult Hall a large dance and hunting scene is depicted, arranged in two main rows, these are the best known and most reproduced Magura Cave images
Parietal art is the archaeological term for artwork done on cave walls or large blocks of stone. One of the most famous examples of art is the Grotte Chauvet in France. Also called cave art, it refers to paintings, etchings, carvings. The purpose of these remains of the Paleolithic and other periods of art is not known. However, some theories suggest that these paintings were not solely for decoration as many of them were located in parts of caves that were not easily accessed, over 300 caves have been discovered in Spain and France that house parietal art from prehistoric times. Spectacular decorated caves have found in Africa, India, Australia. Cave art was discovered in the 19th century, long before absolute dating was possible, some scholars at the time developed a typology that was overthrown when AMS radiocarbon dating became available. Initial interpretations of the art at Lascaux and in other related grottoes suggested that the paintings and engravings were decorative, further analysis at the tail-end of the 20th century suggested that the cave art had deep links to prehistoric rituals promoting fertility and successful hunting.
Chauvet Cave, Vallon-Pont-dArc, France — Discovered in 1994 and dating from 30,000 BCE, in the first, most pictures are red, while in the second, the animals are mostly black. The most spectacular images are the Horse Panel and the Panel of Lions, caves of Arcy-sur-Cure, Arcy-sur-Cure, France — Known of old for the cave itself, its parietal art has only been discovered in 1990. It is the second oldest after that of the Chauvet cave, Cosquer Cave, near Marseille, France — Discovered by the deep-sea diver Henri Cosquer in 1985, and dating from 25,000 BCE, the entrance to Cosquer cave is more than 100 feet below sea level. It contains hand stencils, charcoal drawings and about 100 polychrome paintings of horses, pech Merle Cave, Midi-Pyrénées, France — Discovered in 1922, and dating from 25,000 BCE, Pech-Merle is famous for its dappled horses painted in charcoal and ochre on limestone. For details and photos, please see, Pech-Merle Cave Paintings and its cave art consists of over 700 painted images including numerous abstract symbols and engravings.
The so-called polychrome chamber houses some 30 large animal pictures, mostly bison, vividly executed in red, for details and photos, please see, Altamira Cave Paintings. After its discovery, Lascaux quickly became a major tourist attraction, around 2000, the cave became filled with a fungus that many blamed on air conditioning, the use of high-powered lights, and too many visitors. The fungus had to be removed by hand, currently only a few scientific experts are allowed to work inside the cave. The most representative bacterium and fungus from the communities of a cave containing paleolithic paintings were isolated. Development was analyzed with and without supplemented nutrients, results showed that the assayed bacterium on natural substrate was able to develop best at in situ temperature and that the addition of organic nutrients and/or phosphate enhanced its growth
Cyprus, officially the Republic of Cyprus, is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean and the third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. It is located south of Turkey, west of Syria and Lebanon, northwest of Israel and Palestine, north of Egypt, the earliest known human activity on the island dates to around the 10th millennium BC. Archaeological remains from this include the well-preserved Neolithic village of Khirokitia. Cyprus was settled by Mycenaean Greeks in two waves in the 2nd millennium BC, Cyprus was placed under British administration based on Cyprus Convention in 1878 and formally annexed by Britain in 1914. While Turkish Cypriots made up 18% of the population, the partition of Cyprus and creation of a Turkish state in the north became a policy of Turkish Cypriot leaders, following nationalist violence in the 1950s, Cyprus was granted independence in 1960. On 15 July 1974, a coup détat was staged by Greek Cypriot nationalists and elements of the Greek military junta in an attempt at enosis and these events and the resulting political situation are matters of a continuing dispute.
The Cyprus Republic has de jure sovereignty over the island of Cyprus, as well as its territorial sea and exclusive economic area, another nearly 4% of the islands area is covered by the UN buffer zone. The international community considers the part of the island as territory of the Republic of Cyprus occupied by Turkish forces. The occupation is viewed as illegal under law, amounting to illegal occupation of EU territory since Cyprus became a member of the European Union. Cyprus is a major tourist destination in the Mediterranean, on 1 January 2008, the Republic of Cyprus joined the eurozone. The earliest attested reference to Cyprus is the 15th century BC Mycenaean Greek
The Czech Republic, known as Czechia, is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres with mostly temperate continental climate and it is a unitary parliamentary republic, has 10.5 million inhabitants and the capital and largest city is Prague, with over 1.2 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the territories of Bohemia, Moravia. The Czech state was formed in the late 9th century as the Duchy of Bohemia under the Great Moravian Empire, after the fall of the Empire in 907, the centre of power transferred from Moravia to Bohemia under the Přemyslid dynasty. In 1002, the duchy was formally recognized as part of the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the Kingdom of Bohemia in 1198 and reaching its greatest territorial extent in the 14th century. Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria, the Protestant Bohemian Revolt against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years War.
After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, reimposed Roman Catholicism, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were expelled following the war, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup détat, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence, in 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed, on 6 March 1990, the Czech Socialistic Republic was renamed to the Czech Republic. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.
The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004, it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE, and it is a developed country with an advanced, high income economy and high living standards. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development, the Czech Republic ranks as the 6th most peaceful country, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, the traditional English name Bohemia derives from Latin Boiohaemum, which means home of the Boii. The current name comes from the endonym Čech, spelled Cžech until the reform in 1842. The name comes from the Slavic tribe and, according to legend, their leader Čech, the etymology of the word Čech can be traced back to the Proto-Slavic root *čel-, meaning member of the people, thus making it cognate to the Czech word člověk. The country has traditionally divided into three lands, namely Bohemia in the west, Moravia in the southeast, and Czech Silesia in the northeast.
Following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, the Czech part of the former nation found itself without a common single-word geographical name in English, the name Czechia /ˈtʃɛkiə/ was recommended by the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A rhinoceros, often abbreviated to rhino, is one of any five extant species of odd-toed ungulates in the family Rhinocerotidae, as well as any of the numerous extinct species. Two of these extant species are native to Africa and three to Southern Asia and they generally eat leafy material, although their ability to ferment food in their hindgut allows them to subsist on more fibrous plant matter, if necessary. Unlike other perissodactyls, the two African species of rhinoceros lack teeth at the front of their mouths, relying instead on their lips to pluck food. Rhinoceros are killed by humans for their horns, which are bought and sold on the market. East Asia, specifically Vietnam, is the largest market for rhino horns, by weight, rhino horns cost as much as gold on the black market. People grind up the horns and consume them believing the dust has therapeutic properties, the horns are made of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails. Both African species and the Sumatran rhinoceros have two horns, while the Indian and Javan rhinoceros have a single horn, the IUCN Red List identifies three of the species as critically endangered.
The word rhinoceros is derived through Latin from the Ancient Greek, ῥῑνόκερως, the plural in English is rhinoceros or rhinoceroses. The collective noun for a group of rhinoceroses is crash or herd, the name has been in use since the 14th century. The family Rhinocerotidae consists of four extant genera, Dicerorhinus. The living species fall into three categories, the two African species, the white rhinoceros and the black rhinoceros, belong to the tribe Dicerotini, which originated in the middle Miocene, about 14.2 million years ago. The species diverged during the early Pliocene, the main difference between black and white rhinos is the shape of their mouths – white rhinos have broad flat lips for grazing, whereas black rhinos have long pointed lips for eating foliage. There are two living Rhinocerotini species, the Indian rhinoceros and the Javan rhinoceros, which diverged from one another about 10 million years ago, the Sumatran rhinoceros is the only surviving representative of the most primitive group, the Dicerorhinini, which emerged in the Miocene.
A subspecific hybrid white rhino was bred at the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic in 1977, interspecific hybridisation of black and white rhinoceros has been confirmed. While the black rhinoceros has 84 chromosomes, all other species have 82 chromosomes. However, chromosomal polymorphism might lead to varying chromosome counts, for instance, in a study there were three northern white rhinoceroses with 81 chromosomes. There are two subspecies of rhinoceros, the southern white rhinoceros and the northern white rhinoceros. As of 2013, the subspecies has a wild population of 20,405 – making them the most abundant rhino subspecies in the world
Spy Cave is located near Spy in the municipality of Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, province of Namur, Belgium above the left bank of the Orneau River. Classified as a premier Wallonian Heritage site of the Walloon Region, the cave consists of numerous small chambers and corridors. Since the first amateur investigations during the late 19th century numerous amateur and professional archaeologists have carried out excavations, the excavation was conducted by Liège, archaeologist Marcel de Puydt and geologist Max Lohest. Paleontologist and zoologist Julien Fraipont published the description in the American Anthropologist journal. The assemblages of the oldest excavations have been mixed, that makes the interpretation of the palaeoenvironment difficult, in addition publications of de Puydt and Fraipoint disagree on the number of layers of knapped flints. The hominid skeletons discovered during the first excavations have been named Spy I, a female, and Spy 2 and these were dated to around 36,000 years BP, although a Bayesian analysis in 2014 concluded that they were probably more than 40,000 years old.
The identification of the remains of a Neanderthal child, Spy VI, was published in 2010, almost 12,000 faunal remains of the Pleistocene were discovered, including mammoth, cave hyena, woolly rhinoceros and cave bear bones. All levels contained mammoth remains, including a number of molars. It has been suggested that the Neanderthal occupants brought mammoth heads to the site and ate the brains, because many of the molars were unworn, these would have been very young or newborn calves, killed in early spring, when plant food would not yet have been available. Evidence of occupation by Upper Paleolithic anatomically modern humans has found at Spy. Pendants and perforated beads made from ivory, presumably by modern humans, were found in the cave. Goyet Caves Media related to Spy Cave at Wikimedia Commons
Radiocarbon dating is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed by Willard Libby in the late 1940s, Libby received the Nobel Prize for his work in 1960. The radiocarbon dating method is based on the fact that radiocarbon is constantly being created in the atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting radiocarbon combines with oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide. When the animal or plant dies, it stops exchanging carbon with its environment, and from that point onwards the amount of 14C it contains begins to decrease as the 14C undergoes radioactive decay. Measuring the amount of 14C in a sample from a plant or animal such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died. The idea behind radiocarbon dating is straightforward, but years of work were required to develop the technique to the point where accurate dates could be obtained.
Research has been ongoing since the 1960s to determine what the proportion of 14C in the atmosphere has been over the past fifty thousand years. The resulting data, in the form of a curve, is now used to convert a given measurement of radiocarbon in a sample into an estimate of the samples calendar age. Other corrections must be made to account for the proportion of 14C in different types of organisms, additional complications come from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and from the above-ground nuclear tests done in the 1950s and 1960s. Conversely, nuclear testing increased the amount of 14C in the atmosphere, measurement of radiocarbon was originally done by beta-counting devices, which counted the amount of beta radiation emitted by decaying 14C atoms in a sample. The development of dating has had a profound impact on archaeology. In addition to permitting more accurate dating within archaeological sites than previous methods, histories of archaeology often refer to its impact as the radiocarbon revolution.
Radiocarbon dating has allowed key transitions in prehistory to be dated, such as the end of the last ice age, and they synthesized 14C using the laboratorys cyclotron accelerator and soon discovered that the atoms half-life was far longer than had been previously thought. This was followed by a prediction by Serge A. Korff, employed at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia and it had previously been thought that 14C would be more likely to be created by deuterons interacting with 13C. At some time during World War II, Willard Libby, who was at Berkeley, learned of Korffs research, in 1945, Libby moved to the University of Chicago where he began his work on radiocarbon dating. He published a paper in 1946 in which he proposed that the carbon in living matter might include 14C as well as non-radioactive carbon, by contrast, methane created from petroleum showed no radiocarbon activity because of its age. The results were summarized in a paper in Science in 1947, Libby and James Arnold proceeded to test the radiocarbon dating theory by analyzing samples with known ages
Cave paintings are painted drawings on cave walls or ceilings, mainly of prehistoric origin, to some 40,000 years ago in Eurasia. The exact purpose of the Paleolithic cave paintings is not known, evidence suggests that they were not merely decorations of living areas since the caves in which they have been found do not have signs of ongoing habitation. They are located in areas of caves that are not easily accessible. Some theories hold that cave paintings may have been a way of communicating with others, the paintings are remarkably similar around the world, with animals being common subjects that give the most impressive images. Humans mainly appear as images of hands, mostly hand stencils made by blowing pigment on a hand held to the wall. The earliest known cave paintings/drawings of animals are at least 35,000 years old and are found in Pettakere cave on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, previously it was believed that the earliest paintings were in Europe. The earliest non-figurative rock art dates back to approximately 40,000 years ago, nearly 340 caves have now been discovered in France and Spain that contain art from prehistoric times.
But subsequent technology has made it possible to date the paintings by sampling the pigment itself, the choice of subject matter can indicate chronology. For instance, the reindeer depicted in the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas places the drawings in the last Ice Age. The oldest date given to a cave painting is now a pig that has a minimum age of 35,400 years old at Pettakere cave in Sulawesi. Indonesian and Australian scientists have dated other non-figurative paintings on the walls to be approximately 40,000 years old, the method they used to confirm this was dating the age of the stalactites that formed over the top of the paintings. The art is similar in style and method to that of the Indonesian caves as there were hand stencils and this date coincides with the earliest known evidence for Homo sapiens in Europe. Because of the cave arts age, some scientists have conjectured that the paintings may have made by Neanderthals. The earliest known European figurative cave paintings are those of Chauvet Cave in France and these paintings date to earlier than 30,000 BCE according to radiocarbon dating.
Some researchers believe the drawings are too advanced for this era, the radiocarbon dates from these samples show that there were two periods of creation in Chauvet,35,000 years ago and 30,000 years ago. In 2009, cavers discovered drawings in Coliboaia Cave in Romania, an initial dating puts the age of an image in the same range as Chauvet, about 32,000 years old. Some caves probably continued to be painted over a period of thousands of years. This was created roughly between 10,000 and 5,500 years ago, and painted in rock shelters under cliffs or shallow caves, though individual figures are less naturalistic, they are grouped in coherent grouped compositions to a much greater degree