Artistic expression has been part of the culture of humans for thousands of years and there is evidence of artistic expression throughout the evolution of mankind.
Here we countdown the world’s oldest art pieces ever discovered.
Venus of Hohle Fels
Dated to the period 38,000-33,000 BCE, the Venus of Hohle Fels was discovered in Southwestern Germany in 2008 by an archaeological team led by Nicholas J. Conard.
The unique sculpture was carved from ivory and depicts the female figure.
Lion Man of the Hohlenstein Stadel
The Lion Man of Hohlenstein Stadel is the oldest anthropomorphic animal carving ever found and is dated 38,000 BCE.
Discovered in a cave in the Hohlenstein Mountains in Southwestern Germany in 1939 by archaeologist Robert Wetzel, the wooden figurine was carved using simple cutting tools and measures 27cm in height.
Sulawesi Cave Art
Consisting of hand stencils dating back to 37,900 BCE, the Sulawesi Cave Art was discovered on the Sulawesi Island in Indonesia.
As one of the oldest examples of cave art ever discovered, the Sulawesi Cave Art was an important finding for researchers of prehistoric life.
El Castillo Cave Paintings
Consisting of abstract symbols and hand stencils, the El Castillo Cave Paintings are the oldest of its kind ever discovered, dated at least 39,000 BCE.
Uncovered by archaeologist Hermilio Alcalde del Rio, there is still much debate as to whether the artworks were created by Neanderthal or Homo sapiens, but we know definitively that they predate NZ sports betting.
La Ferassie Cave Petroglyphs
Dated 60,000 BCE, the Le Ferassie Cave Petroglyphs are located in southwest France and feature cupules – humanly made depressions on rock surfaces resembling spherical caps or domes.
The creation of cupules was practised around the 3 eras of the Stone Age.
Diepkloof Eggshell Engravings
Discovered in the Diepkloof Rock Shelter in Western Cape, South Africa, the Diepkloof Eggshell Engravings are dated 60,000 BCE and consist of abstract symbols engraved on ostrich eggshells.
Blombos Cave Engravings
Consisting of 2 pieces of ochre engraved with geometric symbols and beads made from Nassarius kraussianus shells, the Blombos Cave Engravings were discovered in 2002 in South Africa and are dated 70,000 BCE.
Venus of Tan-Tan
Discovered in the Draa River located outside the town of Tan-Tan in Morocco, the Venus of Tan-Tan measures approximately 6cm in length and 2cm in width and is dated 200,000-500,000 BCE.
Believed to have been carved in the pre-Homo sapiens era, the Venus of Tan-Tan is one of the oldest of its kind.
Venus of Berekhat Ram
Discovered on Golan Height, located between Syria and Israel, in 1981 by archaeologist N. Goren Inbar, the origins of the Venus of Berekhat Ram have been surrounded by controversy.
Dated 230,000-700,000 BCE some believe that it is the product of natural erosion, while others believe that it was carved by Homo erectus.
Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan Cupules
The Bhimbetka and Daraki-Chattan Cupules, dated 70,000 BCE, are the oldest examples of cupule art ever discovered and were found in 2 ancient quartzite caves in the Madhya Predesh region of central India.