The painted caves were discovered in Spain. The walls were the canvasses, and the paintings are bold and clearly not some kind of smeary accident. The paint used was red ochre, from soil mixed with water.
One geometric design looks like part of a ladder, forming rectangles. There are stencils where someone pressed a hand up against the wall and then apparently blew liquid ochre over it. Someone painted swirls of bright red dots and patches onto flowing curtains of stalactites that hang from the cave ceilings.
…New tests on the rock and calcium carbonate that formed over parts of the ochre show that they were painted 65,000 years ago. That’s about 20,000 years before the first modern humans got there.
“The only species that were around at that time were Neanderthals,” explains Alistair Pike, an archaeologist from the University of Southampton in England who was part of the team that did the work. “So, therefore, the paintings must’ve been made by them.”