Ancient Art Archive

A non profit founded by @natgeo photographer @salvarezphoto. We explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories #ancientartarchive


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Chauvet Cave, France The 36,000-year-old paintings in Chauvet are incredible. It is not just their state of preservation, it is that they record a lost world. Bison, Aurochs, Lions and, Rhinoceros are all recorded on the cave's walls. Caves often act as time capsules preserving what things were like in the past. In the case of Chauvet we have an evocative record of what long-extinct animals looked like recorded by attentive artists. There is one detail that sometimes gets overlooked about this cave. The wall is covered by scratch marks from cave bears (Ursus spelaeus). These huge bears hibernated in caves and presumably left the scratch marks while stretching when they wokeup. Seeing the paintings in Chauvet was a profound experience and led me to create the non-profit @ancientartarchive. We use 3D and VR technology to share the experience of standing in front of ancient artworks.

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The lion panel of Chauvet is 36,000 years old. At the Ancient Art Archive we use 3D/VR technology to bring sites like this to life. Follow the link in our profile to join the archive and the links in today's story to join or add yourself to the mailing list. #Chauvet #ancientartarchive

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A procession of human like figures stream above large deer engraved on a canyon wall in the Bears Ears National Monument. I had climbed up to this beautiful petroglyph panel to shoot a time lapse as the milky way rose behind it, but as dawn broke this morning I realized this might be the better photograph. I’m in the west working on an @insidenatgeo and @ancientartarchive project to look at rock art in Western National Monuments. #BearsEars #visitwithrespect

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The Milky Way wheels over the winter Utah sky. There are 179 small human like figures in this San Juan County rock art panel. There are also two deer represented in unusually realistic style. The panel marks a shift in the lives of Pre-columbian Puebloan communities when individual ceremonies gave way to group events. There is tremendous history recorded in Americas public lands. The panel is thought to be circa 1300 BCE. #visitwithrespect

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Barrier Canyon Style pictographs on Utahs San Rafael Swell. BCS pictographs likely come from the late archaic period of South Western archeology (1500-4000 BP). They are often large scale anthropomorphic figures painted on canyon walls.

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The night sky wheels above a Pahranagat style anthropomorphic five in the Basin and Range National Monument. Many of the United State's western Monuments were set aside in part to protect rock art like this. #visitwithrespect #Nevada

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A beautiful series of Fremont Culture Petroglyphs seen along the Fremont River in Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. The Fremont people flourished in Utah, Nevada and Colorado between 2,000 and 700 years ago. They left behind a series of distinct, enigmatic petroglyphs across a wide swath of the South West. #freemont

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Basin and Range National Monument, Nevada Pahranagat style anthrophonic figures are known only from one valley north Las Vegas. Rock art is notoriously hard to date. Experts say that the age of engravings like this are “not well understood.” Is this figure 500 years old, 1,000, 5,000? We do know that people have occupied the Basin and Range for many thousands of years. I photographed this figure last night as the Milky Way wheeled across the sky. Not knowing an artwork’s exact age adds to the mystery of it. I’m on a trip across the American West looking at rock art in a series of western National Monuments on a grant from @natgeo and the @ancientartarchive. #nevada

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Snakes, desert bighorn sheep, lizards and anthropomorphic figures feature heavily on this faded but impressive petroglyph panel in Gold Butte National Monument. Gold Butte is one of the United States newest National Monuments. It was designated in the waning days of the Obama administration in part because of a trove of rock art like this.

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A beautiful piece of Barrier Canyon Style rock art in Southern Utah. There is a lot of snow in Utah right now but often these grey overcast days are perfect for viewing artwork. #utah #barriercanyon

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We have accomplished so much with the Ancient Art Archive this year. in 2018 we: documented thousands of individual works of art; discovered monumental, unknown prehistoric artworks; mapped one of the largest precolumbian murals in North America; pioneered using VR technology to explore and preserve ancient works of art. Please follow the link in our profile to join the ancient art archive and help us do more next year to explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories

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Family groups depicted in artwork found in San Juan County, Utah. The rock art in the four corners region of the US runs the gamut from extremely complex murals represented in Barrier Canyon Style and Esplanade style polychrome murals to relatively simple paintings like this. I find these paintings humanize the artwork. The figures holding hands with a duck and dog also present are such a domestic scene. It makes me think of my own family and our photos of each other from this holiday time of year.

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