COLIBOAIA, Romania (CBS) -- The oldest cave drawings in Central and Eastern Europe were found in Romania, in Coliboaia cave, in Bihor county.
The discovery shows that the land was inhabited 32,000 years ago. The carbon that was used to draw them is 36,000 years old. The amazing 13 drawings and an engraving were found in a gallery of the cave. They represent several animals such as rhinos, Buffalos, horses and cats. Experts are guessing that the place (at the entrance of the cave) was used for hunting related rituals.
Also found among the total of 14 cave paintings were a buffalo head, with horns and mane, a partially drawn horse, and one or two bear heads. Among the drawings that were better preserved, there is a rhino head.
The drawings were discovered by chance in the Coliboaia cave, in Apuseni during a routine expedition in a very remote area in National Park Apuseni.
The pictures are very well preserved because the gallery is located in an area that was not affected by floods. Romanian experts immediately contacted their French colleagues to evaluate the paintings and some samples from the gallery were also sent to France.
Archeologist Jean Clottes is an expert on cave drawings and says, "The cave in Coliboaia is very important because it's the first in central Europe where we have tens of animal representations . It's also important because on the basis of the radio carbon data, we have concluded an age of 36 000 years for the carbon used for those specific drawings and 32 000 years for the drawings themselves. This places the cave in a culture that is the oldest known European culture. It's similar data as the one in the cave Chauvet in France, considered until now the oldest in Europe."
Sbite Viorel Lascu president of the Romanian Speology Society says, "It was a difficult exploration of Speovest, Speodava Stei Speovest Arad. They went into some galleries that had been explored by Gabor Hallasy. They noticed some drawings on the wall and had the inspiration to announce the experts and I called Jean Clottes here and he confirmed they are authentic; you were informed of that today. For sure, there are other traces here as well; other things were discovered here in the past two years, extraordinary things as skeletons and other drawings, very important for Romania's and Europe's heritage"
The drawings are very similar to the ones discovered in the Chauvet cave in France, considered to be the oldest in Europe. Specialists say that this is proof that 36000 years ago, in France, Spain and Romania there were groups of Homo Sapiens with the same conceptions about the world, who went into caves to perform rituals.