"Britain's first cave art is more than 12,800 years old, scientific testing has shown. Engravings of a deer and other creatures at Creswell Crags, in Derbyshire (England), have proved to be genuine Ice Age creations, and not modern fakes, as some had feared. The engravings were found in 2003 at two caves, Church Hole and Robin Hood’s Cave, which lie close together in the Creswell gorge. Palaeolithic occupation deposits dating to the last Ice Age were excavated there in 1875-76, but the art remained unnoticed. Although the most notable finds were from 15,000-13,000 years ago, even older tools were noted, some dating to the Middle Palaeolithic between 60,000 and 40,000 years ago, others a few millennia later. If the art was genuine, therefore, it could belong to any of these periods, although Middle Palaeolithic art is still so rare as to be highly unlikely. There are no paintings like those at Lascaux and other noted French cave art sites — or, if there were, they have vanished. Many French sites, including Lascaux, have engravings also, and the Creswell art fits into this category. The red deer and the stylised figures, which may be schematic women (as at Gönnersdorf, near Cologne) or birds, fit into continental categories of art in the Magdalenian period, which ended about 10,000 years ago; there are also enigmatic 'notches' and other signs which seem to be made by humans but which do not form coherent designs.(...)"
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