The Paintings in Chauvet Cave of France Analytical Essay by Erick

Looks at the issue of the method of dating the Paleolithic mural paintings in the Chauvet Cave in the Ardeche region of south-central France..
# 150037 | 3,325 words | 13 sources | APA | 2011 | PH

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This paper describes the beautiful, complex and sophisticated Paleolithic artwork on the wall panels of Chauvet cave that have led to the questioning of the use of the stylistic method of dating. Next, the author presents the debate over the use of carbon dating versus stylistic dating. The paper concludes that the discovery of Chauvet cave reveals not only the flaws of the stylistic dating methodology but also the vulnerability of its result so that it should not be used in assigning dates to Paleolithic art. A table is included in the paper.

Table of Contents:
Brief Description of the Artworks in the Cave
Interpreting the Significance of the Discovery of Chauvet Cave and its Artworks
The Stylistic Dating Contention
Carbon Dating versus Stylistic Dating

From the Paper:

"In contrast, the unreliability on the use of stylistic dating became more glaring with the discovery of Chauvet cave. In addition to the possible error of dating the Chauvet cave between 21,000 - 17,000 years, its method has already been questioned in the same year that the Chauvet cave has been discovered. It proved to have erred in dating the engravings at the Foz Coa dam construction site.
"The vulnerability of stylistic dating has been further revealed by the study of von Petzinger in 2010. In the study of von Petzinger, it revealed that certain symbols and art form used in stylistic dating was in fact not exclusive in a certain period as assigned by stylistic dating but rather, ubiquitous in the entire palaeolithic era. Examples cited were the dots, the positive and negative and hands and the finger fluting implying that stylistic dating could be inaccurate.
"There was also another method suggested by several authors after the discovery of the Chauvet cave that to really appreciate and determine the stylistic context of the art forms in the cave, it should be compared with other caves."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abadia, Oscar Moro; Morales, Manuel R. Gonzalez (2007). Thinking About Style in the Post Stylistic Era: Reconstructing the Stylistic Context of Chauvet. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, 26(2): 109-125
  • Balter, Michael (1999). New Light on the Oldest Art. Science, 283(5404)
  • Curry, Andrew (2010). Fate of the Cave Bear. Smithsonian, 41(8)
  • Geneste, j.-m. (2005). L'archeologie des vestiges materiels dans la grotte Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc. Bulletin de la Societe Prehistorique Francaise 102(1), 135-44.
  • Hoffecker, John F. (2008). Landscape of the Mind : Archeology and the Evolution of Human. Columbia University Press

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

The Paintings in Chauvet Cave of France (2012, January 22) Retrieved January 24, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The Paintings in Chauvet Cave of France" 22 January 2012. Web. 24 January. 2021. <>