Individual Members

Maarten Peels

Member of EXARC since
the Netherlands
Crafts & Skills

I'm a filmmaker working on movies about the European Late Palaeolithic. In the past two years, I have worked on a short film inspired by the eight-legged bison of the Chauvet cave. This short film was shot in May 2024 and is being edited now. It was fully a passion project of myself and it was financed with a crowdfunding and my personal savings. It is called "De Poten van de Bizon" (The Bison's Legs). It tells the story of two young hunter-gatherers on a dream quest. After a bad dream, the main character wants to make a new painting. After a shamanistic ritual, they find a bison herd and make a sketch. They bring the new drawing to life in a cave using fire, shadows and rhythm. The premiere will be coming September (date TBA).

In the meantime, I am networking with EXARC members to form a scientific basis for the next film. This next film will be a full-length feature on the same topic. I plan to talk to many experts in order to get the most up to date picture of what the world of around 30kya could have been like. I have a story in mind that is more or less universal: a young hunter is wounded in the shoulder and cannot hunt anymore. He is greatly saddened by this prospect. A teacher-shaman helps him reinvent himself, and he becomes a storyteller and painter. In the latter part of the film, many tribes meet up for summer celebrations, and the remainder of his grief gets dissolved in the collective festivities. He works himself into a group that has exclusive right to making ritual rock art. At the end of the summer, he is taken to a secret cave, where he is allowed to leave his best work on the wall. The young artist disappears into the darkness, and a deep silence ensues. Then, voices appear from the distance, and flashlights hover over the cave wall: French archaeologists finding his bison painting, 30.000 years later.

This story to me is probable for the era. But it needs a lot of 'filling in': what tools people used, how they subsisted, their cultural artefacts and rituals, how large a gathering of could tribes get given resource constraints, etc etc. To form a scientifically accurate picture, I have done a lot of reading myself, but I wish to speak to many experts as well.

Currently, I am travelling through the USA to meet archaeologists and Native Americans. From September 2024 until January 2025, I will finish my Master's degree in Applied Ethics at Utrecht University. From February onwards, I will be travelling in Europe to set up contact with universities, individual archaeologists and museums. If you are interested in collaborating on this project, please send me a message!