Major moments from modern history have been reimagined as ‘ancient’ cave art

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.

Most Popular

    Other noteworthy moments to feature included Barack Obama becoming the first black President of the United States of America, Live Aid and Maradona’s “Hand of God”.

    SEGA commissioned the cave art and the poll to celebrate the launch of 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.

    “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.”

    Learning from cave art

    The poll found 72 per cent of adults believe it’s ‘important’ that key events from modern history are shared with future generations.


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

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

    More than half (51 per cent) 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 per cent) would be the best person to lead modern civilisation.

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

    But Manchester United and England star, Marcus Rashford (eight per cent) got twice as many votes as current UK prime minister, Boris Johnson (four per cent).


    While 34 per cent 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 per cent), ensuring equal rights for everyone (36 per cent), and implementing a four-day working week (19 per cent).

    And one in 10 would abolish taxes entirely.

    72 POINT LTD Artist Emmy Smith creates modern cave paintings with the help of cave expert Paul Pettit at Hellfire Caves, West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, August 12 2021

    1960s is the most popular decade

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


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

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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    1.            Sir David Attenborough


    2.            Stephen Hawking

    3.            Queen Elizabeth

    4.            Bill Gates

    5.            Barack Obama