Palaeolithic cave paintings
Today in the Dordogne region we enjoy a peaceful and relaxing lifestyle but this hasn’t always been the case for Perigordians. The region has a long history of human activity dating way back to pre-historical times. The landscape is scattered with evidence to this effect, none more accessible than the world famous Lascaux Caves.
On September 12, 1940, the entrance to the Lascaux Cave was discovered by 18-year-old Marcel Ravidat. Ravidat (died in 1995) returned to the scene with three friends, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas, and entered the cave via a long shaft. The teenagers discovered that the cave walls were covered with depictions of animals.Galleries that suggest continuity, context or simply represent a cavern were given names. Those include the Hall of the Bulls, the Passageway, the Shaft, the Nave, the Apse, and the Chamber of Felines. The cave complex was opened to the public on July 14, 1948. By 1955, carbon dioxide, heat, humidity, and other contaminants produced by 1,200 visitors per day had visibly damaged the paintings. As air condition deteriorated fungi and lichen increasingly infested the walls. Consequently, the cave was closed to the public in 1963, the paintings were restored to their original state and a monitoring system on a daily basis was introduced.
Lascaux II was therefore created nearby the original site which consists of an excellent visitors ‘experience’ employing some rather impressive digital technology allowing the visitor to ‘travel’ through an interactive simulation of the caves themselves.
We find it a fascinating experience and well worth the visit (whether you’re a cave painting enthusiast or not!). Ideal for a rainy day or for a break from the hot summer sun.
"The region has a long history of human activity dating way back to pre-historical times..."