Today our family traveled back to prehistoric times where we lived as nomads. We had been struggling to find the usual herds of animals that we followed every year, so we returned to a certain cave to pray for plentiful animals to hunt. This cave was long and dark, but we had the use of fire to see the cave walls, upon which we did our paintings of animals.

Times have been hard for our family lately and the animals that gave us sustenance have been scarce. This cave ceremony we believed would bring more animals back to our area. We each drew animals, using colors like red ochre, hematite and charcoal. We outlined them in black and filled them in with reds, browns, and whites.

Mama was the shaman, and beat the drum while chanting our ritual songs. She also drew a herd of grazing animals.

Daddy remembered our Great Mammoth hunts, where we would hunt the plentiful woolly mammoths. But lately, we haven’t seen any mammoths, which give us food, shelter and clothing. He’s drawing his mammoth in hopes that we can find more of these creatures.

Baby (the youngest in the clan) drew lots of animals, but especially the mammoths. We worked by torchlight that consumed animal fats.


Back to present times…

This family event was so much fun! We have some actual caves on our land, but didn’t want to wake any sleeping bears, so instead we used the closet underneath our basement stairs. It was perfect for our “cave”. It starts out spacious and ends up in a tiny crawl space, just like some of the actual caves the prehistoric people used. We had a tiny lantern as our torchlight and a carefully-tended candle to simulate fire. We put up cardboard on the wall, set out black permanent marker for the outlines and red, brown and white pastel chalks to fill our drawings in.

Cave paintings that were created during the Upper Paleolithic period occurred 40,000 – 10,000 BC. The first cave art was discovered in the 1860s, but not until 1092 was it accepted by anthropologists and art historians.

Below is some cave art of Aurochs (early cattle), in one of the most well-known locations – Lascaux, France. This cave was discovered in 1940 by 4 teenagers and their dog. The paintings are estimated to be 16,000 years old.