Anthropologists have found cave art in Tennessee that dates from 6,000 years ago making it the oldest in the nation. These “ceremonial drawings” are from the Middle Archaic Period which began in 3788 B.C.
Speaking of old cave paintings, we talked to Werner Herzog about his documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams in which he turns his excellent attention and accent to the Chauvet caves in southern France, dating from 32,000 years ago. Imagine Herzog’s voice:
Since early adolescence, I have been fascinated by cave paintings, It actually was my personal intellectual awakening … and shook me to the core — seeing an image of a horse [from the] prehistoric Stone Age. I couldn’t believe it
image via Huffington Post
And for what it’s worth, John Jeremiah Sullivan's 2011 Paris Review piece about Tennessee’s caves is extraordinary. You can read an excerpt over at Slate.