The Cave of Lascaux is an archaeological site of immense value that has magnificent prehistoric paintings -dated from 17,000 BC- including almost 1500 engravings and 600 paintings, it contains numerous symbols and drawings that haven’t been deciphered yet.

Such is the quality of this work of art that at first it was thought that it was a fraud, but today it’s known for sure that it constitutes one of the maximum expressions of the first prehistoric civilizations. Its paintings belong to the late Aurignacian period, and early Magdalenian, the latter, as is believed, invented things that are used today, such as the sewing needle and the grease lamp.

The grotto of Lascaux is located in the southwest of France, in the valley of the Vézère, within the commune of Montignac (Dordogne). Lascaux is part of the set of artistic manifestations of Franco-Cantabrian rock paintings, as well as Altamira, El Castillo, and Chauvet.

Discovery

The cave of Lascaux was discovered by chance on September 12th, 1940 by 4 teenagers (Marcel Ravidat, Jacques Marsal, Georges Agnel, Simeon Coencas), when the dog of one of them escaped and entered the cave by a hole as in playing with its owner.

It was quickly examined and studied by Breuil and Bouyssonie, who, to their amazement and all of the entire scientific community, stated that the paintings inside were intact, as they had been left thousands of years ago.

The same year of its discovery, it was classified as a “Historical Monument” and since October 1979 it was part of the “Unesco’s World Heritage”, making it one of the most wonderful places to visit on Earth, protecting it from unscrupulous people.

Cave’s Structure

The cave is composed of a series of halls and corridors that Abbot Breuil named in reference to religious architecture: Abside, Nave, Sala de Los Toros (bull’s hall), Pozo and other galleries. The first one is the “Sala de Los Toros” or “Rotonda”, being 17 meters long, 6 meters wide and 7 meters high.

It has a circular composition, and it is the most significant cave due to the quantity and quality of the animals represented there. All these halls really seem to had been planned as an art gallery, where the viewer walks in and is able to appreciate these great works of art.

Some bulls are really impressive, being about 5 meters long. In the most remote place in the cavern of “Pozo” lays the most dramatic painting of all: a wounded bison, with a spear pierced in its belly, spreading its entrails, while, in front of it, a hunter (with a bird’s head) collapses, presumably dead because of a goring from the wounded animal.

On one side, a bird is witnessing the whole act, and around it, symbols, points, and lines complete the whole scene. These paintings will make your legs shake as soon as you see them, they are incredible to stare at, and will guide your mind into a journey to our origins as a species.