Modern history moments reimagined as ancient cave art – from Covid to Brexit

Major moments from modern history have been reimagined as 'ancient' cave art – including the Coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Brexit.

Researchers polled 2,000 UK adults who had their say on what moments from the worlds of sport, technology, politics, and popular culture should be immortalised in Buckinghamshire's Hellfire Caves.

Using the same techniques, style, and colours as our ancestors more than 30,000 years ago, illustrator Emmy Smith worked with archaeologist Professor Paul Pettitt to make the paintings as authentic as possible.

Other noteworthy moments featured include Barack Obama becoming the first black President of America, Live Aid, and Maradona's "Hand of God".

SEGA commissioned the cave art and the poll to celebrate the launch of a new historical strategy game, HUMANKIND, which enables players to create and lead their own unique civilisation.

Paul Pettitt, Professor in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University, said: "Ancient humans used cave art for thousands of years to record the most important concerns of their time.

"And I'm thrilled SEGA has used the oldest artistic medium to bring some of modern history's most iconic moments to life.

"Rock art was a universal form of expression, with examples found all over the world.

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"It was an enjoyable challenge working out how to translate the events of the last few decades, both monumental and mundane, into authentic cave art – I'm extremely proud of the results."

The poll found 72% of adults believe it's 'important' that key events from modern history are shared with future generations.

And 62% think cave art is a great way to learn about history from those who lived during that time.

Furthermore, 51% think cave paintings are more likely to survive for thousands of years than any form of modern technology.

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More than half (51%) also think cave paintings are more likely to survive for thousands of years than any form of modern technology.

It also emerged that those polled think Sir David Attenborough (27%) would be the best person to lead modern civilisation.

Others think Barack Obama (22%) or Queen Elizabeth (19%) would be ideal.

But Manchester United and England star, Marcus Rashford (8%) got twice as many votes as current UK prime minister, Boris Johnson (4%).

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While 34% think they would do either a good or excellent job if they themselves were in charge.

Their priorities would include providing free healthcare to all (46%), ensuring equal rights for everyone (36%), and implementing a four-day working week (19%).

And one in 10 would abolish taxes entirely.

Carried out through OnePoll, the study found only a third (31%) think modern history will be viewed favourably by future generations.

Perhaps as a result, 61% would have liked to have grown up in a different era – with the 1960s the most popular choice.

Half (52%) believe things were simpler during that decade, while others wish they could have experienced the explosion of 60s music (49%) and fashion (35%) for themselves.

Romain de Waubert, studio head & chief creative officer at Amplitude Studios, the developers behind HUMANKIND, said: "Cave art is such a rich way of recording history and the game itself is geared towards letting people tell their own unique stories through the decisions they make and the empire they create.

"We loved seeing some of the most iconic moments from our lifetime translated into modern cave art to celebrate the launch of HUMANKIND."

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Top five sporting moments

1. England winning the World Cup in 1966
2. Andy Murray winning Wimbledon in 2013
3. Super Saturday at the London Olympics 2012
4. England reaching the final of Euro 2020
5. England winning the Rugby World Cup in 2003

Top five pop culture moments

1. Live Aid concert in 1985
2. Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in 2011
3. Gangnam Style dance in 2012
4. Jarvis Cocker storming the stage during Michael Jackson's performance at the 1996 Brit awards
5. Lady Gaga's meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards

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Top five technological advancements

1. The invention of the internet in 1983
2. The first human organ transplant in 1954
3. The first 'test tube' baby born in 1978
4. The International Space Station in 1998
5. The rise of smartphones in the 1990s and 2000s

Top five political moments

1. Barack Obama becoming the first Black President of the United States in 2008
2. Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech in 1963
3. Brexit in 2020
4. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991
5. The fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003

Top five inspirational leaders

1. Sir David Attenborough
2. Stephen Hawking
3. Queen Elizabeth
4. Bill Gates
5. Barack Obama

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