Cinema in Prehistoric times

Cinema in Prehistoric times

This giant-sized reproduction of a small perforated bone disc made around 13,000 years ago was found in 1868 in one of the Laugerie-Basse caves in France. But it was not until 2008 that the artist and illustrator  of Prehistory Florent Rivère suggested that it was a mechanism meant to recreate movement. Similar to the taumatrope, it differs to that device in that instead of blending  two images into one, it reproduces two distinct phases of the same movement.

Moreover, the French historian Marc Azéma, after investigating several caves, including Lascaux, noticed that the animals painted on the walls –  bisons, horses and lions – had several heads and more legs than normal. What in principle had been believed to be unfinished works by artists living towards the end of Paleolithic era (12,000 years ago), Marc Azème suggested that perhaps the authors had wished to transmit the sensation of movement. To confirm his theory, he demonstrated how the light from a torch, when moved forward and backward, gives the impression of animals galloping.

Could this be the very beginning of cinema?

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Bison in the caves at Altamira (Cantabria, Spain) / Heads of moving horses in the cave at Chauvet (France) / Small perforated bone disc, 13,000 years old.