Exhibition with oldest cave paintings in Central Europe, discovered in Coliboaia Cave

The Paleolithic cave paintings unearthed in Coliboaia Cave, the oldest in Central Europe, along with the history of their discovery, were displayed this week for the first time in an exhibition held by the „Cris Rivers’ Country Museum” and Aven d’Orgnac Grand Site de France, partnering the French Embassy to Romania.

According to museum director Aurel Chiriac, the exhibition tops a running French-Romanian scientific cooperation project between the two museum institutions, a project aiming to research and capitalize on the Coliboaia Cave in Bihor County where cave paintings were discovered which dated 31,640 years after the radiometric dating using the radioisotope carbon C-14, in a specialized laboratory in France.

„The paintings are the oldest in Central Europe and rank at the same level in terms of value and importance for the history of humanity as the Cheveau Cave in France, a cave which is also renowned for its age,” director Chiriac told Agerpres.

The exhibition, which is to be presented in more cities of Romania and abroad, tries to present in a scientific exhaustive manner the context the cave was discovered, images from the gallery of cave paintings, but also the cultural area of Beius where the cave can be found. The scientific contribution related to the Paleolithic age in this part of Romania and the speleological research made in Apuseni Mountains were brought into light as well.

President of the Romanian Speleology Federation Viorel Lascu, logistic coordinator of the Coliboaia project, said that the exhibition displays the major paintings on ten boards, picturing animals such as bison, rhinoceros, horse, feline, bear head and several unidentified forms covered in calcite.

„The Paleolithic paintings, whose age was confirmed, place the Romanian mural art cave paintings on a par with the western art, being a first proof of the cultural bridge between Eastern and Western Europe, virtually a cultural definition of Europe, dating back 32 to 36,000 years,” Viorel Lascu.

The paintings were revealed by five Romanian speleologists on October 2009. Gradually, this discovery developed into a partnership between the two aforementioned museums, and the project, whose consulting scientist is Jean Claude, world-renowned expert, gathers more institutions both in Romania and abroad.


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