Building the community - Upper Palaeolithic
Art is one of the main characteristics of anatomically modern humans. Although it is recognized that Neanderthals practiced some kind of symbolism, it is in Eurasia, 30,000 years ago, when the artistic and symbolic are present everywhere. It was can be found in caves and outdoors, on fixed or mobile supports.
Inside the caves are documented paintings, engravings and reliefs of animals, depictions of women or humans of indeterminate sex, handprints and symbols. The meaning of this art has been, is and will be the subject of great debate. One of the most accepted theories in recent times argues that it is a shamanic art. The portable art appears in different styles (naturalistic, abstract), materials (bone, antlers, tusks, teeth, stone and bone tools) and techniques (engravings, paintings ...). The Cova del Parpalló (Gandia, Valencia) contained a set of over 5,000 engraved or painted stone plaquettes.
Personal ornaments are another expression of symbolic thought. They are items ready to be hanged, tied or sewed: bones, teeth and shells with holes, sometimes decorated, and often smudged with red ochre. Its significance has to be linked to personal, social and grup relationships, considering that we have only a portion of those ornaments since paintings, tattoos or ornaments made of perishable materials (feathers or bark) are beyond our knowledge.