Prehistoric Art

Findings gotten from archaeological discoveries made us know that prehistoric cave art was from the period 290,000 BC to 700,000 BC. This period was referred to as Lower Palaeolithic Era in the records of the development of the arts. The homo sapiens of that time were the first set of genteel ancestors of modern European. Their migration was probably from Asia or Africa unto Europe. This period is broken down into three and it is referred to as the stone age. We have:

  • Paleolithic period
  • Mesolithic period
  • Neolithic period

All forms of art credited to that era is referred to as prehistoric art. There are various expressions of these arts and they shaped the existence of man during that period in time. The majority of these artworks are in form of miniature carvings and cave paintings which were discovered through archaeology mainly in Europe.

prehistoric art

What are the main forms of the artworks of this era? We shall be taking a look at the approach of the artists of these years gone by to their works. The majority of their works are based on rock surfaces. You will find their works engraved on stones, rocks, and caves.

We shall take a look at how to represent their thoughts then on various platforms that they find handy in those years past:


The drawings on Petroglyphs during this era of Prehistoric art are the ones that are seen on rock carvings as well as engravings; examples of this can be seen in the Blombos Cave Engravings.

Eggshell Engravings

Another ready medium that the art of the old stone age is based on is the eggshell. We see this on Crosshatching patterns that are scratched on the eggshells of the Ostrich.

Rock Engravings

Rocks abound in this era of old civilization and the people of that time use the hard surfaces of the rocks as a means to express their artistic talents. We find this in rock engravings in circle symbols as well as in abstract signs.


The idea of Pictographs also began during this era. The idea of cave murals began during this period in form of handprints, painted signs, sketches, geometric symbols, and hand stencils.


The abundance of rocks around during this period in term gave inspiration to the idea of Megaliths. Simply defined, this is the strategic arrangement stones or of standing rocks in such a way that it will convey a message to the people.  We can find examples of such artwork in Newgrange/Stonehenge.

There is nothing like what we call the technological tools of today that were used by artists, what they use are crude implements; they depend on their raw skills to make the impact that they achieved.