European Cave Art

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Grotte de Cussac, France

A gallery of pre-historic cave paintings has been found in south-western France, including a drawing of a 12ft long bison and erotic sketches.

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Grotte de Cussac, France
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Lascaux, France

Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne. They contain some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art.

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Lascaux, France
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Pech Merle, near Cabrerets, France

It is the home of one of the few prehistoric cave painting sites in France which remain open to the general public. Extending for more than a mile from the entrance are caverns the walls of which are painted with dramatic murals dating from the Gravettian culture

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Pech Merle, near Cabrerets, France
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La Marche, in Lussac-les-Châteaux, France

The carved etchings discovered there in 1937 show 15,000 year-old detailed depictions of humans.

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La Marche, in Lussac-les-Châteaux, France
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Chauvet Cave, near Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, France

The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave is a cave in the Ardeche department of southern France that contains the earliest known cave paintings, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life.

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Chauvet Cave, near Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, France
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Cave of Niaux, France

The Cave of Niaux is located in Niaux in the Ariege departement of south-western France. Like Lascaux it contains many prehistoric paintings of superior quality, in the case of Niaux from the Magdalenian period.The visits to the cave are strictly regulated in order to maintain an even temperature of 12 degrees C and thus preserve the wall drawings of bison, horses and ibex.

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Cave of Niaux, France
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Cave of Altamira near Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, Spain

Altamira (Spanish for 'high views') is a cave in Spain famous for its Upper Paleolithic cave paintings featuring drawings and polychrome rock paintings of wild mammals and human hands.

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Cave of Altamira near Santillana del Mar, Cantabria, Spain
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Cueva de La Pasiega, Cuevas de El Castillo, Cantabria, Spain

The recorded remains belong mainly to the Upper Solutrean and the Lower Magdalenian ages, although older objects are also found. Throughout the cave are many 'walls' with paintings and with engraved or incised images. There are representations of equines (horses), cervids (deer, male and female) and bovines (cattle). There are also many abstract symbols (ideomorphs).

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Cueva de La Pasiega, Cuevas de El Castillo, Cantabria, Spain
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Cosquer Cave, with an entrance below sea level near Marseille, France

This is the only painted cave in the world with an entrance below present-day sea level where cave art has been preserved from the flooding that occurred when the seas rose after the end of the last glaciation

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Cosquer Cave, with an entrance below sea level near Marseille, France
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Font-de-Gaume in the Dordogne Valley in France

Font-de-Gaume is a cave near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in the Dordogne department of south-west France. The cave contains prehistoric polychrome cave paintings and engravings.

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Font-de-Gaume in the Dordogne Valley in France
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