The 1902 Committee is a project that was conceived in Wales in 2015 by Dr. George Nash and Dr. Sara Garcês. The name of our organisation derives from when scientists began to seriously take note that rock art from the northern Spanish Cave of Altamira and caves within the Dordogne of South-western France was truly ancient. The Cave of Altamira was the first cave to receive scientific and public prominence when painted images were discovered there in 1879. This outstanding polychrome rock art assemblage was researched and promoted by Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola and Juan Vilanova y Piera in 1880 at the Prehistorical Congress in Lisbon. However, the discovery was fiercely criticised by the archaeological establishment, led by French specialists Gabriel de Mortillet and Émile Cartailhac. Their vicious attacks on Sautuola and Piera claimed that the Altamira paintings were a forgery and had been produced by a local artist. Following the discovery of paintings elsewhere, the forgery claims were retracted and the Sautuola and Piera hypothesis largely accepted. Following the ridiculing of the archaeological establishment, Cartailhac published a full apology in his paper "Mea culpa d'un sceptique" in the leading French academic journal L'Anthropologie. 

We now know, through modern scientific methods, that the majority of the paintings dated between 18.5 and 14 ka BCE.  Recently, several painted images have been chronometrically dated to 35.6 ka BCE, suggesting that the art may have been produced by Neanderthal artists. This story commonly resonates among many rock art scholars who dare to say something that can be considered at first contentious and controversial. The year that rock art studies became of age - 1902 marks the first time that the archaeological establishment had admitted they had got it wrong and it is from this date that many of our forefathers in early rock art research began to discover and hypothesise what these images might represent. Since these pioneering days, science and philosophical reasoning have been the prime mechanisms towards our attempts to understand the mindsets of our prehistoric artists and their mission statements. 


Our mission statement is:

  • To provide an online platform for stimulating and sensible debate among rock art specialists;

  • To provide an up-to-date book and academic paper review process;

  • To provide an up-to date news-feed of new discoveries and their associated links; and

  • To provide information on European and World project opportunities.

Join us and let's show the world how incredible rock art is!

The 1902 Committee. 

© 2020 The 1902 Committee.

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