Art of the Upper Paleolithic  

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The art of the Upper Paleolithic is the oldest undisputed prehistoric art, and the oldest known art in human history. Taken as evidence of behavioral modernity, art in the Upper Paleolithic originates in the Aurignacian archaeological culture some 40,000 years ago. Notable reflections of the "Upper Paleolithic Revolution" are the emergence of cave painting, sculpture such as the Venus figurines, and the development of musical instruments such as flutes.


The oldest undisputed works of prehistoric art were found in the Schwäbische Alb, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The oldest, a so-called Venus figurine known as the Venus of Hohle Fels, dates to some 40,000 years ago. Further depictional art is from the Upper Palaeolithic period (broadly 40,000 to 10,000 years ago) and includes both cave painting (such as the famous paintings at Chauvet, Lascaux, Altamira, Cosquer, and Pech Merle), portable art (such as animal carvings and Venus figurines like the Venus of Willendorf), and open air art (such as the monumental Côa Valley and Mazouco in Portugal, Domingo García and Siega Verde, both in Spain, Fornols-Haut in France).

Later findings from the Mizyn archeological site in the Ukraine dated from Mousterian epoch are mammoth ivory bracelets with carved meander ornaments.

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