Rock Analysis Suggests France Cave Art Is 'Oldest'
The oldest footprints of modern day man are seen in the Chauvet cave discovered in 1994. Experts have long debated whether the sophisticated animal drawings are in the oldest of their kind in the world.
"EXPLORING a gorge in south-east France in 1994 for prehistoric artefacts, Jean-Marie Chauvet hit the jackpot. After squeezing through a narrow passage, he found himself in a hidden cavern, the walls of which were covered with paintings of animals... continues...
The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave is a cave in the Ardèche department (7) of southern France that contains the earliest known cave paintings, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. It is located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River.
Discovered in 1994, it is considered one of the most significant prehistoric art sites.
The cave was first explored on December 18, 1994 by a group of three speleologists: Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, Christian Hillaire, and Jean-Marie Chauvet, for whom it was named.
On top of the paintings and other human evidence they also discovered fossilized remains, prints, and markings from a variety of animals, some of which are now extinct. Further study by French archaeologist Jean Clottes has revealed much about the site, though the dating has been the matter of some dispute.
Werner Herzog on Cave of Forgotten Dreams: 'The awakening of the modern human soul' - video.
Werner Herzog investigates the 'proto-cinema' of the 32,000-year-old paintings inside France's Chauvet cave – the subject of his film Cave of Forgotten Dreams – and discusses his project with Cambridge University archaeologists.