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Animals depicted on the cave ceiling include bison, wild horses, bears, and ibex—species which went extinct in Britain at the end of the Ice Age 10,000 years ago. Other themes include "conga lines" of what are believed to represent dancing women and stylized depictions of female genitalia, Pettittt said.

Both forms are typical of continental cave art from the same period.

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"Now it seems there are more than ten times that number of carvings." "This find represents the most richly carved ceiling in the whole of cave art … [and] demonstrates that cave art is spread across a much wider geographical area than we originally thought," he said. today, such as red deer stags, are also recorded in the rock.While stalagmites and stalactites are almost absent in the cave, there is an extensive calcite flowstone that covered a large part of the cave until its opening for tourists during the 1950s.For many years the total lack of cave art in Britain dating to the same period perplexed researchers. And throughout the Ice Age, it was linked to mainland Europe by a land bridge.Last year researchers discovered a handful of simple bird and animal carvings in the caves of Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge in Nottinghamshire, northern England.

The finding proved for the first time that ancient Britons were capable of producing artwork similar to that of their Paleolithic (early Stone Age) counterparts on continental Europe.Now more extensive surveys undertaken this year reveal that the English caves may hold the most elaborate Ice Age cave-art ceiling ever discovered.

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