Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The cave at Lascaux, France

The oldest and best known painted caves are in southern France and the cave at Lascaux is the most famous of them all.

The cave had been sealed off by debris for many millennia. In the 1920s, one of the pine trees that had grown in the area fell down, and under its roots a crack opened in the soil with an opening like a foxhole at the bottom.

In September 1940, a group of youngsters decided to explore the hole and found out what lay beneath it.

More than 17,000 years ago, prehistoric painters covered many of the walls of the cave with images of animals.

The main chamber nicknamed the Hall of the Bulls, is an unusually large space and easily accessible, but many of the paintings at Lascaux and in other caves are almost impossible to reach.

The Hall of the Bulls is 12 meter long, 7 meter wide and 20 meter high. The Halls of the Bulls is named for the four large bulls painted on the room’s walls and ceiling.

The bulls have very long horns. Each painting of a bull is between 3 and 5 meter long.

Even the Hall of the Bulls is far from the cave entrance and its paintings could only have been seen the flickering light of a primitive lamp. More than 100 stone lamps have been found.

Scientists who study Magdalenian art believe that the paintings of bulls in the Lascaux cave are actually of an animal called an auroch.
The cave at Lascaux, France

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