ANCIENT ODYSSEYS

AS EARLY HUMANS MIGRATED AROUND THE GLOBE, IMAGE MAKING SPREAD RAPIDLY

The human mind can't easily comprehend huge expanses of time. Once the years run into the tens of thousands, our brain lumps them together into an undifferentiated mass. The catchall term prehistoric art works perfectly with this sort of thinking. It sounds like just another episode in art history-modern art, Renaissance art, Byzantine art, prehistoric art.

In reality, the artworks created before history began-prior, say, to about 10,000 B.P. (before the present)-cover a much longer time span than what has come afterward. Southwestern European cave painting, only the most familiar expression of ancient creativity, was done over a period of at...

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