Principal researcher: Olivia Rivero

The study of Palaeolithic art carried out in the framework of the project Aprendizaje y desarrollo de las capacidades artísticas en los humanos anatómicamente modernos: un enfoque pluridisciplinar (ApArt) has aimed to explore the development and transmission of cognitive and cultural skills of AMHs throughout the Upper Palaeolithic, using the technical and aesthetic skills associated with the artistic productions of these times as a field of study.

In order to achieve this objective, a multidisciplinary study was carried out based on the application of multiple analysis methodologies that have included traceological studies of tools, analysis of characteristic marks on parietal supports and furniture by means of optical and electronic microscopy, experimental reproductions of tools and artistic objects, analysis of operational chains, 3D scans of archaeological and experimental Palaeolithic art objects and panels for their comparison and generation of Palaeolithic reproductions. The results of this research are manifold. On the one hand, a large amount of graphic information has been generated on sites with Palaeolithic art (casts, photographs, three-dimensional reproductions), providing visibility to this fragile and unknown heritage, whose accessibility to the general public is often difficult or impossible. In addition, the study of the operational chains and production mechanisms of prehistoric graphics constitutes a set of highly interesting information that can help to understand and enhance the value of prehistoric artistic heritage. It should be added to this fact that the groups studied are often very difficult to observe, due to the very nature of the artistic entities (very fine engravings in karstic environments with poor lighting), and also because of conservation problems caused by natural factors such as erosion and geological and biological alteration processes, as well as anthropic factors. The combination of these conditions means that the motifs are now almost indistinguishable in many places, except to experts.

This difficulty in accessing and visualising Palaeolithic artistic heritage, located in fragile and often difficult to access environments such as karst caves, means that the information and knowledge generated by research into this heritage asset is difficult to pass on to society in general, which is often unaware of the incalculable value of this heritage.


Therefore, the present project proposes to generate various mechanisms to be able to transfer the results of research, restitution and documentation of Palaeolithic art to society in general. To this end, the idea proposed for the Proof of Concept is the creation of an AR application using LiDAR technology so that it is possible to transfer the knowledge of Palaeolithic art to society in general and to institutions in particular, thus contributing to its enhancement. This application will be particularly interesting for those sites that are currently visited without a guide, allowing user interactivity and real-time reconstruction, for example, of the visibility of the graphic motifs and the way in which they were executed.

This project, with reference number PDC2021-121501-I00, has been funded by MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033 and by the European Union Next GenerationEU/ PRTR