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Cave Children’s Art School

Cambridge archeologists revealed evidence of children’s learning and art making 13000 years ago. Their wall markings, called finger flutings, are found throughout the famous complex called the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths in Rouffingnac, France.  Children between 3 and 7 years old created many of the thousands of finger flutings. Four individual children have been identified through their distinctive markings based on scientific measures involving size of fingers, etc.. Two artists were girls. Most prolific was a girl around 5 years old. There is a wealth of children’s graphic expressions, including finger flutings as well as outlines of animals and faces. One cave space  appears to have been a creative ‘play pen’. Archeologists are not sure whether the children’s finger flutings were for play, training, and/or ritual.

“What I wanted to do with my PhD was to allow prehistoric children to have a voice, since children are rarely talked about in academic discourse. What I’ve found in Rouffignac is that they are screaming to be heard – the presence of children is everywhere in the cave, even in the passages furthest from the entrance.” Jess Cooney, Archeologist.

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