Le Pont d'Arc, a spectacular geological arch over the Ardèche River, France, for which in part Chauvet–Pont d'Arc was named. Chauvet Cave. Dating and its consequences for the history of art, https://www.britannica.com/place/Chauvet-Pont-dArc, Great Archeological Sites - The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc. Similarly, a three-dimensional quality and the suggestion of movement are achieved by incising or etching around the outlines of certain figures. [6] Most of the artwork dates to the earlier, Aurignacian, era (32,000 to 30,000 years ago). Visit the Pont-d'Arc Cavern, the replica of the Chauvet Cave, just a few miles from the original. Many of the paintings appear to have been made only after the walls were scraped clear of debris and concretions, leaving a smoother and noticeably lighter area upon which the artists worked. It is located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River, in the Gorges de l'Ardèche. The deep age of the paintings and their realism has led in some circles to a scholarly revision of the notion of paleolithic cave art styles: since radiocarbon dates are a more recent technology than the bulk of cave art studies, codified cave art styles are based on stylistic changes. Now reliably dated to between c. 33,000 and c. 30,000 years ago, the numerous and diverse animals that dot the interior walls of the cave – both painted and engraved – show such high artistic quality that they were initially thought to have been closer in age to the similarly stunning, but much younger art in caves such as the Lascaux Cave. The following February he took tiny samples of charcoal from the ground, from torch marks on the walls, and from a few drawings in order to radiocarbon-date them. Speleologist Michel Rosa and several friends tried to get through but were blocked by a stalagmite that obstructed the very narrow passage. In the majority are animals that were not hunted, such as lions, rhinoceroses, and bears, which is interesting because from the succeeding Gravettian period onward preferences tended to be reversed, with the focus lying on prey animals. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/Chauvet_Cave/. The preservation in the cave is remarkable. Some of the first paintings one might bump into after having entered the cave are three cave bears painted in red in a small recess. Chauvet Cave (also known as Chauvet-Pont d'Arc) is currently the oldest known rock art site in the world, apparently dating to the Aurignacian period in France, about 30,000 to 32,000 years ago. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. [26], In 2020, researchers used the new IntCal20 radiocarbon calibration curve to estimate that the oldest painting in the cave was created 36,500 years ago.[27]. Based on radiocarbon dating, the cave appears to have been used by humans during two distinct periods: the Aurignacian and the Gravettian. Red Dots Cluster, Chauvet Cave (Replica)by Claude Valette (CC BY-SA). Groeneveld, E. (2017, February 12). De la faune au bestiaire - La grotte Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc, aux origines de l'art pariétal paléolithique. The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southern France is a cave that contains some of the best-preserved figurative cave paintings in the world,[1] as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. Her work has appeared in scholarly publications such as Archaeology Online and Science. Last modified February 12, 2017. It must have been felt as a powerful place, and the cave benefited from its aura. Several scientific methods were used to establish the dates of the art and of the frequentation of the cave. [3] While making their way through the passages they then discovered some small traces of red ochre, before being blown away by the full magnitude of the hundreds of paintings and engravings.

Then, several thousands of years after, another group from another place with another culture visited the cave. The cave has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. Although this is a tricky topic, it is thought these Palaeolithic people might have had some sort of shamanistic religion in which the art played a role, perhaps with a dose of hunting magic added to it (where the depicted animals were directly influenced by acting on their images). The images found in Chauvet–Pont d’Arc prove that the development of cave art, like other art forms, was not linear but had high and low points throughout history. Books

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