Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave
The 1990s have witnessed a sort of renaissance in cave art, thanks to new discoveries from the south of France. Previously, the oldest examples of human art were thought to have been painted 15,000 years ago. When these three spelunkers-turned-authors happened upon the Chauvet cave (named after one of them), however, they visited an underground art gallery that had been closed for 30,000 years. It’s still inaccessible today, except to specialists. But this wonderful book of pictures and text allows virtual tourists to appreciate the creations of our remotest ancestors. This may be primitive art in the literal sense of the term, but it’s remarkably sophisticated.