Iranian cave an art studio for prehistorical humans, archaeologist says

June 24, 2022 - 17:49

TEHRAN – Iranian spelunkers and archaeologists have discovered several modest artworks within the dark chambers of Ali Sadr, a gigantic water-filled cavern widely believed to date from the Jurassic era.

“A number of paintings have been identified on the rock walls of Ali Sadr cave. Bearing different spectrums and patterns, the paintings probably belong to prehistoric times,” Mehr quoted Iranian archaeologist Esmaeil Hemmati-Azandaryani as saying on Wednesday.

“The paintings were initially found in a place closed to travelers last year when we were conducting three-dimensional photographs of the cave,” the archaeologist said.

Spelunkers and archaeologists have discovered about 25 to 30 motifs in different color spectrums of green, orange, yellow, and black, he said. 

“These paintings are of high significance. They depict archers hunting deer, deer, beasts of prey, as well as human beings riding on horse-like animals.”

Preliminary studies show ocher flowers, some plants, or the blood of animals have been used as the pigments to draw. However, more studies are needed to obtain more complete results and pigment analysis, Hemmati-Azandaryani said.

Moreover, the archaeologist said there are many similar examples abroad, such as the ones in Lascaux caves in France and Altamira in Spain.

Iranian cave an art studio for prehistorical humans, archaeologist says

The gigantic cave embraces a huge matrix of sunless channels, ponds, grottoes, and water passages which are stretched along with imposing rock formations and stalactite-covered tops in a span of several kilometers.

Sightseeing there is connected with traversing well-lit labyrinths of waterways via paddle boats, walking on subterranean islets, as well as observing rock carvings of hunting scenes, artifacts, paintings, and vessels that are associated with prehistorical troglodytes.

Ali Sadr can be reached after some one hour of riding from Hamadan through the countryside. There are usually shuttles and taxis as well. The most recommended time to pay a visit is early in the morning, particularly on Fridays or holidays when it’s likely to be more crowded.

Iran is geologically a part of the Alpine-Himalayan organic belt. The country features a variety of mountain ranges and hundreds of caves with Ali Sadr, Karaftu, Kataleh Khor, and Quri Qaleh amongst the most notables.


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