Project: Cave painting

How the Stone Age people painted:


As paints, the Stone Age people used substances that could be found in nature, e.g. iron oxide (iron in rock that has taken on a red colour through contact with the air), charcoal, various minerals and ores, but also animal blood, milk and plant juices. This is how the colours black, brown, red, yellow and ochre were created. The colours were applied with the fingers or with homemade brushes made of feathers or animal hair. Sometimes the Stone Age people ground the colours into a powder and sprayed them onto the wall with their mouths or with a tube. To make the pictures stand out even more clearly against the rock, in some caves the outlines of the animals were also carved into the wall or the surrounding surface was chiselled off.


The Grade 5s tried out what it was like to paint a cave painting themselves. With a few tricks, the learners were able to experience how difficult it was to paint in the caves.


The woodchip wallpaper represented the rock wall on which the children painted. This gave them an impression of how difficult it was to paint on a rough background. The children did not have to mix the colours themselves, as the Stone Age people did, but they worked with watercolours. They painted with charcoal, with their fingers or with homemade brushes made of twigs. For this, the ends of the twigs were frayed between two stones.


Since it was dark in the caves, the Stone Age people took torches with them. But painting in dim, flickering light was quite difficult. We also tried it out ourselves: we darkened our classroom and lit it only with a few tea lights.


The results were impressive! See for yourself!