A centuries-old technique that reveals hidden “3D” animals in Paleolithic cave art

Using an unconventional, centuries-old method, researchers have identified animal figures hidden on the walls of a cave in Spain. This technology, called holography, dates back to the early 19th century, but is perhaps best known for its use in the View-Master, a pre-VR viewer beloved by generations of children.

Cave paintings are a well-known and long-standing art medium in Europe. Its history goes back at least 40,000 years. Although archaeologists have studied this ancient art form for more than a century, their focus has typically been on the two-dimensional features of designs, and when recording art, they have relied on sketches, tracing, and photographs.

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