Describe being inside
Lascaux Caves - the 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. These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old.They primarily consist of images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list along with other prehistoric sites in the Vézère valley.
The Lascaux grotto consists of a main cavern 66 feet wide
and 16 feet high. The walls of the cavern are decorated with some 600 painted
and drawn animals and symbols and nearly 1,500 engravings. The pictures depict
in excellent detail numerous types of animals, including horses, red deer,
stags, bovines, felines, and what appear to be mythical creatures. There is
only one human figure depicted in the cave: a bird-headed man with an erect
phallus. Archaeologists believe that the cave was used over a long period of
time as a center for hunting and religious rites.
The cave contains nearly 2,000 figures, which can be grouped
into three main categories: animals, human figures, and abstract signs. The
paintings contain no images of the surrounding landscape or the vegetation of
the time. Most of the major images have been painted onto the walls using
mineral pigments, although some designs have also been incised into the stone.
Many images are too faint to discern, and others have deteriorated entirely.
Over 900 can be identified as animals, and 605 of these have
been precisely identified. Out of these images, there are 364 paintings of
equines as well as 90 paintings of stags. Also represented are cattle and
bison, each representing 4 to 5% of the images. A smattering of other images
include seven felines, a bird, a bear, a rhinoceros, and a human. There are no
images of reindeer, even though that was the principal source of food for the
Geometric images have also been found on the walls.
The most famous section of the cave is The Great Hall of the
Bulls where bulls, equines, and stags are depicted. The four black bulls, or
aurochs, are the dominant figures among the 36 animals represented here. One of
the bulls is 5.2 metres (17 ft) long, the largest animal discovered so far
in cave art. Additionally, the bulls appear to be in motion.
A painting referred to as "The Crossed Bison",
found in the chamber called the Nave, is often submitted as an example of the
skill of the Paleolithic cave painters. The crossed hind legs create the
illusion that one bison is closer to us than the other. This visual depth in
the scene demonstrates a primitive form of perspective which was particularly
advanced for the time.