we help people explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories
The Lion Panel of Chauvet, France
The Ancient Art Archive helps people explore and preserve humanity's oldest stories
National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez began the archive after a lengthy story on why humans became artists.
"Standing in front of 36,000 year old cave paintings in France I felt time collapse and the artist speak straight to me across an unimaginable gulf of time. The experience changed me. I started the Archive not just to preserve those ancient sites and our common cultural heritage but to share them with everyone."
Photography allows us to portray the sites in a way that transmits what it is like to stand before them. The 3d modeling lets us perfectly preserve the artwork as it appears today ensuring that scientific study and enjoyment of humanity's oldest stories can go on.
26,000 year old fingertraced horses, France
"What the oldest art represents is the story of mankind, told in the first person."
Location and age of the earliest art sites closely mirror what we know of the first human migrations. Nearly the first thing that humans do in a new landscape is create art. Why do we do this? Maybe to make the land sacred, to make it our own. In a time before written language those pictures drawn on rocks and cave walls were our stories. What the oldest art represents is the story of mankind, told in the first person.
Board of Directors
Stephen Alvarez -Founder and Director
Jan Simek -President Emeritus University of Tennessee, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology University of Tennessee
Sarah Lowe -Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton PLLC
Stephen Alvarez -President
Greg Crouch -Secretary
Sarah Lowe -Treasurer
Board of Advisors
Jan Simek, PhD -Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of Tennessee
Chistoper Henshilwood, PhD -Professor University of Bergen, Norway, Professor University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Dr. Joe MacInnis, CM -Order of Canada, Toronto, Canada
Van Ling, -Visual Effects Supervisor, Titanic