News Category: Arts & Poetry
On September 12th, 1940, a boy named Marcel Ravidat lost his dog, Robot, to a hole. He returned three days later to get his dog with three friends, and they entered down into the cave through a shaft. They had thought that the shaft was a secret entrance to a nearby mansion. It was not. However, they did end up finding something much more valuable. The cave was filled with prehistoric paintings.
8 years later, the cave was opened to the public. Unfortunately, the CO2 levels tourism brought in begun to damage the caves by around 1955. An air monitoring system was introduced, but, unfortunately, after much turmoil throughout the days, the caves remain closed. Replicas (Lascaux II, Lascaux III, and Lascaux IV) are still available to the public.
About 600 paintings, mostly of animals, can be seen in the cave. One of the first ones, Hall of the Bulls, is one of the most famous pieces of prehistoric art in the world.
Also pictured in the Hall of the Bulls are equines, aurochs, stags, and the only bear in the entire cave. The Axial Gallery (or the Painted Gallery) is allocated after the hall. Within it are many drawings, the biggest of which is the 17-foot long Great Black Bull.
The Passageway is the part of the cave that connects the Hall of the Bulls to the Apse and the Nave. But despite its creatively inspired name, the Passageway has an abundance of drawings, making it a probable significant gallery for the artists.
To the right of the Passageway is the Apse, a semi spherical cavern in the cave. It accounts for half of the decorative art in the cave. Many ceremonial artifacts have been discovered there, making it the likely heart of the cave for the people who painted it.
On the floor of the Apse is a hole leading to what’s known as the “Shaft of the Dead Man”, or just The Shaft. It contains the only picture of a human in the entire cave. Weirdly enough, there are only 8 other drawings in this area.
The Nave is to the left of the aforementioned Passage. Most of its drawings are engravings due to its soft rock.
The Chamber of Felines is connected to the Nave through the Moonwilk Gallery. That gallery contains no art due to its crumbling surfaces. As the name suggests, the Chamber of Felines contains some cats (a rarity in cave art), although, like the other chambers, it is mostly composed of horses.
And that’s the end of the sections of the cave. Obviously, much more remains. If you ever have time, check out this site (also the source of most of the images): https://archeologie.culture.fr/lascaux/en.
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