Oldest Stone Age Art
List of Earliest Prehistoric Artworks: Oldest Petroglyphs, First Carvings & Sculpture, Earliest Stone Age Cave Paintings.

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Venus of Moravany (c.24- 22,000 BCE)
Mammoth Ivory Figurine Carving
of Obese Nude Female.
Discovered at Moravany, Slovakia.
A masterpiece of prehistoric art.

The 50 Oldest Works of Prehistoric Art

The Top 10
For details, see: Oldest Art.

1. Bhimbetka Auditorium Cave Petroglyphs - Cupules
2. Daraki-Chattan Cave Petroglyphs/Cupules
3. Venus of Berekhat Ram
4. Venus of Tan-Tan, Morocco
5. Blombos Cave Rock Art, South Africa
6. La Ferrassie Cave Cupules, France
7. Venus of Hohle Fels, Swabian Jura
8. Ivory Carvings of the Swabian Jura and Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stadel
9. Bone Venus of Kostenky, Russia
10. Chauvet Cave Paintings

• For artworks numbered 11-50, see: Top 50 Works of Prehistoric Art.
• For facts about Stone Age rock art around the world, see: Earliest Art.
• To put these artifacts into context, see: Prehistoric Art Timeline.



Painting of a Hyena (c30,000 BCE)
Chauvet Cave, Dordogne, France.

The earliest Stone Age art was created during the Lower & Middle Paleolithic
eras of the Pleistocene Epoch - from roughly 2.5 million BCE to 40,000 BCE.


Lascaux Cave Murals (17,000 BCE).
Among the oldest examples of
cave painting from the Paleolithic era.

Oldest Prehistoric Art (11-50)

11. Ubirr Aboriginal Rock Art (c.30,000 - 20,000 BCE)
Red Ochre Pigments on Rock
Pre-Estuarine Period
Ubirr, Arnhem Land, Northern Australia
See: Aboriginal Rock Art: Australia.

12. Lion Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel (c.28,000 BCE)
Mammoth Ivory Statue - see Prehistoric Sculpture.
Late Aurignacian Period
Hohlenstein-Stadel Cave, Swabian Jura, Germany

13. Venus of Dolni Vestonice (c.26,000 - 24,000 BCE)
Clay Ceramic Carving of Female
Gravettian Period
Czech Republic


Maikop Gold Bull (2500 BCE) Russia

14. Apollo 11 Cave Paintings (c.25,500 – 23,500 BCE)
Animal Figure Paintings in Charcoal and Ochre
Upper Paleolithic Period
Apollo 11 Caves, Huns Mountains, SW Namibia, Africa
[See also: African Art]

15. Venus of Willendorf (c.25,000 BCE)
Painted Oolitic Limestone Sculpture of Obese Woman
Gravettian Period
Krems, Austria
[See also: Venus Figurines]

16. Cosquer Cave Paintings (c.25,000 BCE)
Hand Stencil Art and Drawings, Plus Ideomorphs
Gravettian Period
Cosquer Cave, Calanque de Morgiou, Marseille, France

 

17. Venus of Savignano (c.25,000 BCE)
Serpentine Stone Carving of Female Figure
Gravettian Period
Panaro River, Italy

18. Dappled Horses of Pech-Merle (c.25,000 BCE)
Polychrome Pictures of Charcoal & Ochre on Limestone, Plus Ideomorphs
Gravettian Period
Pech-Merle Cave, Cabrerets, France

19. Venus of Moravany (c.24,000 - 22,000 BCE)
Mammoth Ivory Figurine Carving of Female Figure
Gravettian Period
Moravany nad Váhom, Piestany, Slovakia

 

20. Limestone Venus of Kostenki (c.23,000 - 21,000 BCE)
Limestone Carving
Gravettian Period
Kostenki, Russia (see above for ivory version)

21. Venus of Laussel (c.23,000 - 20,000 BCE)
Limestone Bas-Relief Sculpture of Reclining Female Figure
Gravettian Period
Dordogne, France

22. Venus of Brassempouy (c.23,000 BCE)
Mammoth Ivory Carving of Head & Face of Female: First Ever Portrait Art
Gravettian Period
Brassempouy Rock Shelter, France

23. The Salmon of Abri du Poisson Cave (c.23,000 BCE)
Bas-relief Limestone Sculpture
Gravettian Period
Les Eyzies de Tayac, Périgord, Dordogne, France

24. Venus of Lespugue (c.23,000 BCE)
Mammoth Ivory Figurine (Highly Stylized)
Gravettian Period
Lespugue, Haute-Garonne, France

25. Venus of Garagino (c.22,000 BCE)
Volcanic Rock Carving of Female with Huge Breasts & Belly. Ukraine's Oldest Sculpture
Gravettian Period
Ukraine

26. Venus of Mal'ta (c.21,000 BCE)
Mammoth Ivory Carving: Oldest Recorded Siberian Figurative Sculpture
Gravettian Period
Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia

27. Sash Painting: Aboriginal Rock Art (c.17,000 BCE)
Pigments Applied by Feather Quill on Rock
Example of Bradshaw Aboriginal Rock Painting
Kimberley, Western Australia

28. Lascaux Cave Paintings "Hall of the Bulls" (c.17,000 BCE)
Polychrome Images of Horses, Aurochs and Cattle Using Pigments on Rock, Plus Ideomorphs
Late Solutrean, early Magdalenian
Lascaux Cave, Montignac, Dordogne, France

29. Font de Gaume Cave Paintings (c.17,000 BCE)
Polychrome Pictures of Bison, Horses and Mammoths, Plus Ideomorphs
Solutrean Period
Les Eyzies, Dordogne, France

30. Cave of La Pasiega Murals (c.16,000 BCE)
Polychrome Images of Horses, Deer, Cattle and Abstract Symbols
Solutrean Period
Puente Viesgo, Spain

31. Altamira Cave Paintings (c.15,000 BCE)
Polychrome Pictures of Bison and Deer, Plus Ideomorphs
Magdalenian Period
Altamira Cave, Spain.

32. Lortet Reindeer (c.15,000 BCE)
Reindeer Antler Tool Engraved with Images of Reindeer and Fish
Magdalenian Period
Lortet Rock Shelter, Hautes-Pyrenees, S. France

33. Jomon Japanese Pottery (c.14,540-13,320 BCE)
Ceramic Clay Pottery
Incipient Jomon Period
Odaiyamamoto I site, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
[See also: Japanese Art and Chinese Pottery]

34. Tuc d'Audoubert Bison (c.13,500 BCE)
Unfired Relief Clay Sculptures of Two Bison
Magdalenian Period
Tuc d'Audoubert Cave, Ariege, France

35. Addaura Cave Engravings (c.11,000 BCE)
Engraving on Limestone (See also petroglyphs)
Magdalenian Period
Addaura Cave, Monte Pellegrino, Italy

36. Gobekli Tepe Relief Sculptures (c.9500 BCE)
These include animal and (a few) human reliefs.
End of the Stone Age, beginning of the Neolithic Age.
Near Sanliurfa, Southeastern Anatolia, Turkey.

37. Cuevas de las Manos (Cave of the Hands) (c.9,500 BCE)
Stencils of Hands; Pigments on Rock, Plus Ideomorphs
Upper Paleolithic/Neolithic Period
Rio de las Pinturas, Argentina

 

38. Bhimbetka Rock Paintings (c.9,000-7,000 BCE)
Paintings and Stencil Art
Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic
Madhya Pradesh, India (see above for Auditorium Rock Shelter)
[For more, see: India: Painting & Sculpture]

39. Pachmari Hills Rock Paintings (c.9,000–3,000 BCE)
Drawings & Paintings with Pigments on Sandstone
Mesolithic Period
Satpura Range of Central India

40. Wonderwerk Cave Engravings (c.8,200 BCE)
Geometric Designs, Ideomorphs and Representations of Animals
African Neolithic Period
Wonderwerk Cave, Northern Cape Province, South Africa

41. Tassili-n-Ajjer Rock Art (c.8,000 BCE)
Paintings and Engravings
Archaic Tradition
Tassili-n-Ajjer, Algeria, N Africa

42. Ancient Persian Pottery (c.8,000-7,000 BCE)
Oldest Known Example of Iranian Ceramic Ware
Neolithic Period
Ganj Dareh (Valley of Treasure), Kermanshah, Iran (Persia)
[See also: Ancient Persian Art]

43. Jiahu Carvings (c.7,000–5,700 BCE)
Turquoise Carvings, Bone Flutes
Mesolithic Period
Yellow River Basin of Henan Province, Central China
[See also: Neolithic Art in China: 7500-2000 BCE]

44. Coldstream Burial Stone (c.6,000 BCE)
Coloured Engravings on Quartzite Stone
Mesolithic Period
Lottering River, Western Cape Province, South Africa

45. Goddess Figurine (c.5,500 BCE)
Oldest Example of terracotta sculpture from Asia Minor
Neolithic Period
Catalhoyuk, Anatolia, Turkey

46. Egyptian Female Figurines (c.5,500-3,000 BCE)
Small Carved Figures: Bone, Ivory, Stone (Ornamented with Lapis Lazuli)
Egyptian Predynastic Period (esp Naquada I Period, 4000-3500 BCE)
[See also: Egyptian Art]

47. Chalcolithic Pottery from Persia (c.5,000-3,500 BCE)
Ceramic Ware painted with Human, Bird, Plant or Animal Motifs
Chalcolithic Culture
Iran (Persia)
[See also Ceramic Art]

48. Thinker of Cernavoda (c.5,000 BCE)
Iconic Terracotta Fine Art Sculpture
Neolithic Hamangia Culture
Romania

49. Fish God of Lepenski Vir (c.5,000 BCE)
Sandstone Carving of Therianthropic Figure
Mesolithic Period
Danube Settlement of Lepenski Vir, Serbia
[see also: Stone Sculpture]

50. Samarra and Halaf Plates (c.5,000 BCE)
Ceramic Dish with Figurative or Geometric Decoration
Samarra/Halaf Style, Mesolithic Period
Iraq and Syria

Prehistoric Art: More Examples

Dabous Giraffe Engravings (c.4,000 BCE)
Saharan Rock Engravings
Taureg Culture
Agadez, Niger, Africa
[See also: Tribal Art]

Valdivia Figurines (c.4,000–3,000 BCE)
First 3-D representational images in the Americas, in Limestone and Marble
Neolithic Period
Real Alto and Loma Alta sites, Ecuador

Pig Dragon Pendant (c.3,800 BCE)
Example of Ancient Chinese Jade Carving
Hongshan Culture
Tomb 4, Niuheliang, Jianping, Liaoning Province, NE China

Newgrange Megalithic Tomb (c.3,100 BCE)
Spiral carvings and other megalithic art
Irish Neolithic Culture
Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland.

Egyptian Pyramids (c.2600-2100 BCE)
Monumental stone tombs.
Old Kingdom Culture. For more, see: Ancient Egyptian Architecture.
Giza, Dashur and Saqqara.
See also: Early Egyptian Architecture (3100-2181).

Stonehenge Stone Circle (c.2600-2400 BCE)
Megalithic architecture and engravings
English Neolithic Culture
Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England.

Ram in the Thicket (c.2500 BCE)
Mesopotamian sculpture in gold-leaf, copper, lapis lazuli, red limestone
Early Dynastic
Great Death Pit, Ur. See also: Mesopotamian art.

Knowth Megalithic Tomb (c.2500-2000 BCE)
Megalithic art, notably geometric engravings
Irish Neolithic
Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland.

Maikop Gold Bull (c.2500 BCE)
Gold Sculpture (Lost-Wax Casting Method)
Maikop Culpture
North Caucasus, Russia
One of the oldest sculptures in the history of Russian art.

The Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro (c.2500 BCE)
Marvellous Bronze Figurine Sculpture
Harappan Culture, Indus Valley Civilization, India
[For more, see: Bronze Sculpture]

Nebhepetre Mentuhotep's Mortuary Temple at Thebes (c.2000 BCE)
Stone Tomb. See: Egyptian Middle Kingdom Architecture
Deir-el-Bahri, Upper Egypt.

Chinese Bronzeworks (from c.1,750 BCE)
Bronze Plaques/Sculptures (Piece-Mold Casting) with Jade Decoration
From the general period of Xia Dynasty culture (c.2100-1600 BCE) and also Shang Dynasty Art (c.1600-1000 BCE), Yellow River Basin of Henan Province.
[See Chinese art and also Traditional Chinese Art: Characteristics.]

Temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak (1550 onwards)
Colossal megalithic buildings.
Thebes, Upper Egypt
Part of the golden age of temple building in Ancient Egypt.

• For the Stone Age origins of painting, see: Homepage.


ENCYCLOPEDIA OF STONE AGE ART
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