From Publishers Weekly
In 1991, French deep-sea diver Henri Cosquer discovered an underwater cave 120 feet below sea level near Marseilles containing Paleolithic paintings and engravings of animals, complex geometric signs, stenciled human hands and innumerable finger tracings. Once several miles inland, the cave's mouth became submerged when seas rose at the end of the last Ice Age some 12,000 years ago. French archeologists Clottes and Courtin took part in expeditions to the submerged cavern. Using radiocarbon tests, they dated some of the artwork to 27,000 years ago-9500 years earlier than the celebrated paintings of the Lascaux cave. Although the Cosquer cave's animal paintings do not seem nearly as powerful as those of Lascaux, the art and artifacts left behind by adventurous Homo sapiens hunters add up to an extraordinary find, as documented in this attractive album. Among the prehistoric artworks are pictures of plains horses, ibex, bison and the extinct deer called megaloceros; rare images of marine animals such as seals, auks and a fish; and an engraving of a killed man, his skull crushed by a spearhead-an image that suggests to the authors a murder or execution. Natural Science Book Club main selection.
Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Marking 1991 as a landmark year of discovery in archaeology was the the recovery of the Iceman of Tirol (a desiccated Bronze Age body from the Alps) and the discovery of stunning Paleolithic underwater cave paintings in France. The prehistoric paintings of Cosquer invoke awe, fascination, and a strong human connection to the past while providing scientific insight into the culture and psychology of earlier humans. Though not as artistically spectacular as Lascaux, the Cosquer cave has several unique characteristics: firm dates established by chemical methods, unique animal images, an underwater location, and a particular danger associated with the discovery and exploration of such a location. The authors, principal investigators of the site, expertly describe the context, meaning, and significance of the paintings and draw comparisons with similar sites. The quality of the production is excellent, and the book teems with color images. The main detraction is the lack of an index, though a helpful glossary and an extensive bibliography are included. This book is a treat for lay and undergraduate readers alike.?Joyce L. Ogburn, Yale Univ. Lib., New Haven, Ct.
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Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.