Paul Bahn, author of the standard introduction to art prehistory, 'Images of the Ice Age', has produced this second edition 'Journey Through the Ice Age' (1997), covering the state of this science-meets-art subject ten years on. A wide range of cave art and portable rock/bone art is covered in photographs and descriptive text. Items go back tens of thousands of years, such as animals on stone plaques from Namibia dated c.25,000 years ago, and engraved flints from Israel dated c.54,000 years ago.
The chapters are arranged thematically, each with startling and beautiful photographs of paintings and carvings from the Chatelperronian period c.35,000 years ago, to the Azilian period, c.8,000 years ago. One chapter demonstrates that this most ancient art is a worldwide phenomenon, with samples from North and South America, China, Australia, Africa, India, and Europe. The carved antler spear-thrower in the shape of a mammoth, and the ivory carving of two reindeer, dispel any doubts that Man was capable of great art, and had the leisure to enjoy it, long before the age of writing and the civilisations that produced literature.
There are discussions of the techniques of Stone Age art, and the processes of modern investigation, and the at times slow acceptance of prehistoric art in the face of accusations of forgery and simple disbelief. The use of experimental archaeology in reproducing the ancient art, and modern dating techniques are discussed. Famous scenes of Altamira, Lascaux, Chauvet, and others are scattered throughout. There is a discussion of theories of interpretation of the art, and an extensive bibliography of the original research sources for the professional.
This synopsis report prepared by Michael JR Jose