Ancient cave paintings are often understood as the first kind of art made by humans.
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 also often 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, while other theories ascribe a religious or ceremonial purpose to them.
It has usually beeb assumed that the first painters were men, archaeologist Dean Snow of Pennsylvania State University present a different theory, he says:
Handprints in ancient cave art most often belonged to women, overturning the dogma that the earliest artists were all men.
Photograph courtesy Dean Snow
Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings, suggests a new analysis of ancient handprints. Most scholars had assumed these ancient artists were predominantly men, so the finding overturns decades of archaeological dogma.