Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Prehistory Cave Adventure

Some 25,000 years or more ago early man settled in a cave in the upper valleys of the river Lot not far from the present day village of Cabrerets.  Successive generations settled in this cave, leaving behind not only valuable archeological evidence but also some magnificent cave paintings (and plenty of cave wall graffitti).

The cave was re-discovered in 1922, named 'la grotte du Pech Merle' and boasts some of the best examples of cave drawings that you can still visit  (the more famous caves of Lascaux have been closed to protect the paintings and you can now only visit a replica - Lascaux II).        Click here to see the location on our Adventure Map.

Routeimage  

Did I mention that it was school holidays again in France?  The last eight school weeks have flown past and the kids get the next 11 days off school.  Except they still have NZ school on 'Home School Wednesday' - although I've haven't told them this yet.

Monday = first day of the holidays = family adventure.

It was a good day to visit a cave, it was raining and the temperature never really climbed above 12ºC. It wasn't beach weather!

We even had McDonalds for lunch. Yes, I know!! I totally buckled under the pressure, even despite my pledge that our Mac days were over.  It was just too damn convenient to pass up.  It was an hour and half road trip to Cabrerets and we hit the 'MacDonalds' round-about in Cahors right on 12 noon.

There was no photography allowed inside the cave so you have to excuse the borrowed pictures from the official web site.

image   An "exciting" photo, showing a calcified footprint of an adolescent boy circa 10,000 years ago. Yes - its a boy - can't you tell the difference?
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In my view this was the best example of painting in this cave but unfortunately this is also the worse example of photography.

It shows part of a bison (left) and a dotted horse. The painting of the horse was radiocarbon dated to 25,000 years old.  On the back of the horse, not really visible in this photo was a large red fish, thought to be a pike.

Stenciled black hands are found all around the horses.

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At one stage in the hour long tour, Henry wandered off from the group and practiced some scribbles of his own. No - only joking (I was holding his hand very firmly).

This shows another ancient horse, could this have been a practice sketch for the painting above?