German Caves with world’s oldest known art to UNESCO heritage list

Six caves in south-western Germany’s Swabia Jura region, home to some of the world’s oldest art were added to the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Centre. The caves were occupied some 43000 to 33000 years ago. They are among the earliest known dwelling places of modern humans in Europe. These archaelogical sites feature some of the oldest figurative art worldwide and help shed light on the origins of human artistic development.

Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura:

Excavations of the Ice Age–era caves began in the 1860s.

In 2008, more than 40 carved ivory figurines have been found in the caves, including one called the Venus of Hohle Fels, were discovered in the cave of the same name.

Dating to about 35000 to 40000 years ago, the tiny statue, of a heavyset woman with large breasts and visible genitalia, is the earliest known example of figurative human art.

A few of the best known human artifacts found in the caves are a mammoth, a horse head, a water bird, and two statues of a lion man all of surprising quality and all more than 30000 years old.

The oldest known musical instruments have also been found here, like flutes made from the bones of swans and griffon vultures, which are around 35000 years old. In 2004, a flute carved from the tusk of a mammoth dating from the Ice Age, around 37000 years ago, was also found.

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