The meaning of Ice Age art has been endlessly debated, but evidence is increasing that some was religiously motivated, says Paul Bahn.
At least 70,000 years ago, our ancestors began to adorn their bodies with beads, pendants and perhaps tattoos; by 35,000 years ago, they had begun to paint and engrave animals, people and abstract motifs on cave walls, like those in Lascaux, France, and Altamira in Spain. They sculpted voluptuous figurines in ivory or stone, such as the Venus of Willendorf.
Ever since Ice Age art began to be discovered a century ago, people have wondered what it meant. How could we understand what these early artists were trying to express? Many theories have been put forward – "art for art's sake", totemism, hunting magic and so on ... Telegraph