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Some have argued that such images are records of hunts that served not only to inventory the amount of animals killed as well as future references for animal migrating patterns.
An alternative theory, developed by David Lewis-Williams and broadly based on ethnographic studies of contemporary hunter-gatherer societies, is that the paintings were made by Cro-Magnon shamans.
Cave paintings are found in the Tassili n'Ajjer mountains in southeast Algeria also in the Akakus, Messak Settafet and Tadrart in Libya and other Sahara regions including Ayr mountains, Niger and Tibesti, Chad.
The Rock Paintings of Sierra de San Francisco is the name given to prehistoric rock art found in the Sierra de San Francisco region of Baja California, Mexico, created by a people referred to as Cochimi or Guachimis.
The most common rock art element found around the world, the human hand, exemplifies several pictography types.
A technique used since the Neolithic is spraying around a hand, resulting in a negative image.
He also points out that the main themes in the paintings and other artifacts (powerful beasts, risky hunting scenes, and the over-sexual representation of women in the Venus figurines) are to be expected in the fantasies of adolescent males, who constituted a large part of the human population at the time.
However, Merlin Stone, in her book When God Was a Woman, suggested that many scholars and archaeologists impose modern sexist views on ancient findings.
Rock painting was also performed on cliff faces, but fewer of those have survived because of erosion.
Crayons and animal hair brushes have been excavated in caves with paintings.
Exceedingly fine lines evidence the production of excellent brushes.
One well-known example is the rock paintings of Astuvansalmi in the Saimaa area of Finland.
The age of the paintings in many sites has been a contentious issue, since methods like radiocarbon dating can be easily misled by contaminated samples of older or newer material The choice of subject matter can also indicate date such as the reindeer at the Spanish cave of Cueva de las Monedas which imply the art is from the last Ice Age.
Some theories hold that cave paintings may have been a way of transmitting information, while other theories ascribe them a religious or ceremonial purpose.