Posted by: Johan Normark | October 9, 2013

Brief comment on the female hand-prints in caves

Yesterday National Geographic launched the news of a new study of Palaeolithic cave art. It has often been assumed to be made by men. The new study, or at least NG’s coverage of it, indicates that women did the paintings (at least most of them). However, if you read the article it is the hand-prints that have been analyzed, i.e. not the paintings themselves. How sure can we be that the person behind the hand-print also did the paintings? Not sure at all is my non-specialist conclusion or there is some more evidence that was not mentioned in NG.



  1. It makes sense since many animistic cultures were matriarchal in nature, for instance amongst the Basques (a location of lots of cave art) it was women who ran the spiritual life of the people, a situation that caused the Inquisition to take harsh action against them.

  2. No, not many “animistic” cultures are matriarchal. They may be matrilineal but that is another thing. Most of the matrilineal societies are still patriarchal. The Basques of today or during the inquisition have nothing to do with the cave painters 25,000-40,000 years ago.


%d bloggers like this: