The Spotted Horses is believed to be created by female hands
For thousands of years, these artworks have been credited as the genius of cave men. Scientists believed these artistic visions were dreamed up and executed by male hands. But after more than 25,000 years, the results of a recent study have indicated prehistoric female artists also helped to create the famous ‘Spotted Horses’ cave mural and various others.
After re-analysing the hand stencils inside the Pech Marle and Gargas caves in France, Professor Dean Snow from Pennsylvania State University said that ‘even a superficial examination of published photos suggested to me that there were lots of female hands there’.
Male hands are clearly larger in size, however smaller prints could have been made by adult females or younger males or females. Professor Snow used digit ratios to try and determine who made the smaller prints.
‘The very long ring finger… is a dead giveaway for male hands. A long index finger and a short pinky is very feminine,’ he told National Geographic.
The hand stencils were probably made using two techniques. Some individuals may have held their hands against the rock surface while holding a pigment filled tube in the other and blowing through the tube to spray the pigment. Others may have spat the pigment directly from the mouth through pursed lips.
After years believing these stencils were male, further examination has proven women were involved too
Professor Snow studied the hand marks in the French caves and in the El Castillo cave in Spain.
Professor Dean Snow also investigated art in the Gargas cave
Using modern hands he compared proportions and assessed the handprints in the artwork.
‘I had access to lots of people of European descent who were willing to let me scan their hands as reference data,’ he said.
Recent research has shown the European gene pool until very recently has been largely of Upper Palaeolithic origin, and therefore modern Europeans should have similar hand sizes to their ancestors.
The discovery could mean the female role of this period was much greater
His findings suggest the woman’s role in prehistoric society was much greater than previously thought.
‘We don’t know what the role of artists were in the Upper Paleolithic society (roughly 20,000 to 40,000 years ago) generally, but it is a step forward to be able to say that a strong majority of them were women,’ he said.
Via Daily Mail