Archaeologists have found artifacts that suggest that the life of a caveman, although primitive, wasn’t totally without luxuries.
When considering the lives of ancient people, the term “cavemen” is widely applied to many different races and gatherings of ancient people. The descriptor owes much to items they left behind in caves.
Petroglyphs—ancient carvings or inscriptions made on rocks—often portray hunts and provide insight into the daily lives of nomadic bands. Creating such images would require the ability to work stone, incising, picking, carving and abrading it to the desired effect—no small skills in any era.
Common artifacts found within caves include broken spear tips, bones and hollowed out gourds, which would coincide with the hunter gatherer lifestyle that many ancient people lived. Again, fashioning weapons and household items was a craft requiring considerable training and talent.
In most cases, the caves that our ancestors stayed in were not permanent dwelling places—more like temporary accommodations as the nomads migrated from region to region in search of food and prey.
Like American Indian tribes, early cavemen would have had portable shelters that could be put up and taken down quickly. They would have items that could be rolled up and carried rather easily, such as animal pelts to be used as bedding or windbreaks and wrapped around their bodies for warmth.
Some researchers believe that cavemen were much more sophisticated than they have ever been given credit for. They point to cave drawings as a form of art, depicting rich and complex civilizations. Some ancient artifacts, such as a prehistoric zinc vessel shaped like a bell found in Massachusetts, are quite artistic and lovely.
Discussing ancient cave paintings, prehistorian Robert Silverberg has said, “Not only do they indicate great craftsmanship, but they point to a whole constellation of conclusions: That primitive man had an organized society with continuity and shape, religion and art.”
A recent study of ancient teeth found in Southern Africa suggests that the females within some cave clans may have been more outgoing that their male counterparts. When they reached maturity, they would leave home seeking a mate.
As interesting as such tidbits may be, they still don’t give an exact picture of what home and life might have been like for cavemen. But the more facts are gathered, the more it seems clear that “cavemen” were certainly not savages by any means—perhaps much less like apes and more like modern homebodies than we might like to admit.
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