Another member of this group, Michel Chabaud, along with two others, travelled further into the cave and discovered the Gallery of the Lions, the End Chamber. Chauvet has his own detailed account of the discovery. Further study by French archaeologist Jean Clottes has revealed much about the site. A study published in using additional 88 radiocarbon dates showed two periods of habitation, one 37, to 33, years ago and the second from 31, to 28, years ago with most of the black drawings dating to the earlier period. Based on radiocarbon dating , the cave appears to have been used by humans during two distinct periods: the Aurignacian and the Gravettian. The later Gravettian occupation, which occurred 27, to 25, years ago, left little but a child's footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths [ citation needed ] , and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves.
Cave paintings are a type of parietal art which category also includes petroglyphs , or engravings , found on the wall or ceilings of caves. The term usually implies prehistoric origin , but cave paintings can also be of recent production: In the Gabarnmung cave of northern Australia, the oldest paintings certainly predate 28, years ago, while the most recent ones were made less than a century ago. The oldest known cave paintings are over 40, years old art of the Upper Paleolithic , found in both the Franco-Cantabrian region in western Europe, and in the caves in the district of Maros Sulawesi , Indonesia. The oldest type of cave paintings are hand stencils and simple geometric shapes; the oldest undisputed examples of figurative cave paintings are somewhat younger, close to 35, years old. Nearly caves have now been discovered in France and Spain that contain art from prehistoric times.
A new dating method finally is allowing archaeologists to incorporate rock paintings — some of the most mysterious and personalized remnants of ancient cultures — into the tapestry of evidence used to study life in prehistoric times. In the study, Marvin W. Rowe points out that rock paintings, or pictographs, are among the most difficult archaeological artifacts to date. They lack the high levels of organic material needed to assess a pictograph's age using radiocarbon dating, the standard archaeological technique for more than a half-century.