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Lascaux is the setting of a complex of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France. Over 600 parietal wall paintings cover the interior walls and ceilings of the cave.
See the fact file below for more information on the Lascaux or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Lascaux worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Lascaux is famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings, found in a complex of caves in the Dordogne region of southwestern France, because of their exceptional quality, size, sophistication and antiquity.
- Estimated to be up to 20,000 years old, the paintings consist primarily of large animals, once native to the region. Lascaux is located in the Vézère Valley where many other decorated caves have been found since the beginning of the 20th century (for example Les Combarelles and Font-de-Gaume in 1901, and Bernifal in 1902).
- Lascaux is a complex cave with several areas (Hall of the Bulls, Passage gallery). It was discovered on 12 September 1940 and given statutory historic monument protection in December of the same year.
- On September 12, 1940, the entrance to the Lascaux Cave was discovered by 18-year-old Marcel Ravidat when his dog, Robot, fell in a hole.
- Ravidat (who died in 1995) returned to the scene with three friends, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, and Simon Coencas.
- They entered the cave through a 15 metres (49 ft) deep shaft that they believed might be a legendary secret passage to the nearby Lascaux Manor.
- The teenagers discovered that the cave walls were covered with depictions of animals. Galleries that suggested continuity, context or simply represented a cavern were given names.
- These include the Hall of the Bulls, the Passageway, the Shaft, the Nave, the Apse, and the Chamber of Felines. They returned along with the Abbé Henri Breuil on 21 September 1940. Breuil made many sketches of the cave, some of which are used as study material today due to the extreme degradation of many of the paintings.
- Breuil was accompanied by Denis Peyrony (curator of the Prehistory Museum at Les Eyzies), Jean Bouyssonie, and Dr Cheynier.
- The cave complex was opened to the public on 14 July 1948, and initial archaeological investigations began a year later, focusing on the Shaft.
- By 1955, carbon dioxide, heat, humidity, and other contaminants produced by 1,200 visitors per day had visibly damaged the paintings.
- The paintings and engravings in Lascaux Cave date back to the Paleolithic Age, or early Stone Age. Human culture advanced significantly during the Paleolithic Age.
- We transformed from Neanderthals into homosapiens and hunting and gathering societies formed. We learned to control and manipulate fire and forge tools. The period ended around 10,000 years ago.
HALL OF THE BULLS
- The Hall of the Bulls, probably the world’s most famous underground gallery of Paleolithic art, is 19 metres (62 feet) in length and varies in width from 5.5 metres (18 feet) at the entrance to 7.5 metres (25 feet) at its widest point.
- As one enters the main area (the Rotunda) the first image one encounters is a horse’s head and neck with a fuzzy mane. The second is the mysterious unicorn.
- Other notable pictures found in the Hall of the Bulls include the Frieze of the Black Horses (a long line of aurochs and horses), the Frieze of the Small Stags, the heads of six bulls, a headless horse and a bear.
- There are two exits from the Hall of the Bulls: one leads to the Axial Gallery, a dead end, and the other to the main passageway.
- The section of the cave that connects the Hall of the Bulls to the Apse and the Nave is called the “Passageway”.
- However, judging by the concentration of figures on its walls (380 figures, including 240 complete or fragmentary animals like aurochs, bison, deer, horses, and ibex, 80 signs, and 60 indeterminate images), prehistoric artists saw it not only as a connecting passage but as an important gallery in its own right.
- It is about 17 metres (56 feet) in length and averages about 4 metres (13 feet) in width. In Solutrean times, its ceiling varied between 4 and 5 feet in height.
- Notable images include a procession of engraved horses, the horse with the turned-back foot, and the bearded horse. At the end of the Passageway is an intersection and joining from the right is the Apse, while the continuation of the Passageway is called the Nave.
THE CAVE TODAY
- The original cave was closed to the public in 1963 CE after it became clear that the many visitors caused, among other things, the growth of algae on the cave walls, dealing irreparable damage to the paintings.
- Despite the closure, fungi spread within the cave, and efforts to control these issues and protect the art are ongoing. Those looking for an alternative experience can visit Lascaux II, a replica of the Great Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery sections, which was opened in 1983 CE and is located a mere 200 metres from the original cave.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Lascaux across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Lascaux worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Lascaux which is the setting of a complex of caves near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne in southwestern France. Over 600 parietal wall paintings cover the interior walls and ceilings of the cave.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Lascaux in France Facts
- The Facts
- Lascaux Timeline
- Look Back!
- My Lascaux!
- Lascaux Article
- Best Features
- Words to Know
- The Famous Lascaux
- Word for Lascaux
- Palaeolithic Painting!
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Link will appear as Lascaux Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 15, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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