On Sunday December 18, 1994, Jean-Marie Chauvet led his two friends, Éliette Brunel and Christian Hillaire, on the Cirque d'Estre toward the cliffs. All three had a passion for speleology and had long stopped counting their discoveries. But this time they discovered one of the oldest paleolithic caves in the world, withevidence of human occupancy from 36 000 years BC. On 22 June 2014, this extraordinary cave was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Marvel at the underground landscapes and the spectacular artwork on the cave walls, where bears, horses, lions, mammoths and rhinoceros abound. Protected by a landslide that blocked the entrance to the cave, the works of the prehistoric artists and the footprints of our Aurignacian ancestors have been left almost perfectly intact for 38,000 years.
The project was the 2015 publication of the website collection “Great archaeological sites” archeologie.culture.fr that presents, from Prehistory to the Middle Ages, the history and lives of humans in times past by the most accomplished of specialists, in a format accessible to everyone. The aim of the project was to give access, as widely as possible, to this inaccessible sanctuary, never opened to the public for preservation reasons. The research work on the cave, and its preservation and presentation, are being carried out by the services of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. The website of the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc cave bears witness to this collective approach, presenting the development of the cave and offering a voyage through time.
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