Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave

Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave
Chauvet Pont d'Arc Cave

These Chauvet Pont d'Arc cave paintings found in the French department of Ardèche are among the oldest ever found never. It is true that researchers do not fully agree on its dating, and range in dates ranging from 36,000 BC to 18,000, also of course before our Era. After all, it is a very extensive pictorial set, with more than 1,000 different images, of which there are up to 425 animal paintings. Therefore, there may be paintings from different times of Prehistory.


Chauvet Pont d’Arc Cave Paintings

What is clear is that it is a set of Paleolithic art exceptional, and with elements that give it its own personality within that art and manages to differentiate it from the two great cave art “temples” such as the Altamira Cave in Spain, and the Lascaux Cave in France.

The set of Chauvet Pont d'Arc was discovered in 1994, and the find was incredible, as not only the paintings were found, but other remains were also discovered of human presence, as well as fossilized bones and footprints left by animals that could have inhabited the place in the ice age, such as cave bears.

As we have said there are more than 400 paintings with images of animals, representing up to 14 species,some already extinct in this area. And there are animals that were hunted by the men of Paleolithic such as horses, bison or reindeer, but species such as rhinos, panthers, bears or lions are also identified.

However, if the most common in prehistoric art are representations of animals, in the Cave de Chauvet Pont d'Arc, There is much more. There are abstract symbols or positive hand painting. And images that may be related to shaman or initiation rites, since there are some paintings that look like mushrooms, which could be hallucinogenic and would be taken at certain ritual moments. And also a very peculiar figure is seen that seems to have the body of a bison and the legs of a woman. Without forgetting another representation that is also the legs of a woman and the representation of her genital organs, something that can immediately be linked to the idea of ​​reproduction.

In short, as with so many representations of prehistoric times, there are many enigmas still to be solved. But what seems clear is that this cave became a great center for painters from different eras. To begin with, because it is the largest in the entire area, and there are also features that indicate that these natural and rocky walls were treated expressly to make paintings, for example by polishing their surfaces to make it easier to apply the pigments.

It is not surprising that for the value of its rock art it is listed by UNESCO as World HeritageHumanity.

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