On Sunday 18th of September 1994, 3 qualified speleologists, Jean-Marie Chauvet, Elliette Brunel and Christian Hillaire made one of the most incredible discovery who changed the history of cave Art forever.
The discovery of the Chauvet Cave.
While they were exploring the cliffs of the Estre Cirque in The gorges of the Ardèche river, the three speleologists discovered a blowing hole. After they cleared out the rocks a narrow tunnel appeared and they entered it.
Entering in the hole, they were amazed by the beauty of the pure white concretions. In the next room, they discovered a gigantic ossuary of a a cave bear. They were exploring the cave further and further when suddenly Eliette screamed “they were here!”. From this moments what they discovered was way over their expectations. Lions, Mammoths, owls, rhinoceroses… All these prehistorical animals were painted on the walls of the cave. They were totally amazed but this unprecedented discover.
A few days later, specialists entered the cave in order to date these paintings : they are -36 000 years old ! These are the oldest rupestrian paintings ever discovered!
The protection of the cave
Just after this fabulous breakthrough , the cave was closed to public in order to preserve the rupestrian paintings. On the 22nd of June 2014, the cave is finally considered as one of the UNESCO World Heritage.
In order to allow the majority to discover this masterpiece, the Rhône-Alpes region and the Ardèche departmental council, both supported by the State and the European Union, built the mot important replica of ornamented cave in the world : The Caverne Du Pont d’Arc.
The Caverne du Pont d’Arc
During spring 2015, the reconstitution of the Chauvet Pont-d’Arc cave opened its doors. This was a worldwide exploit made possible thanks to the numerous Scientifics, artists, engineers, and artisans who worked on the construction of the facsimile. With your first steps in it, you feel like 36 000 years before, in a sanctuary where artists of prehistoric era left significant prints in the mankind History. Hundreds of animals are represented, painted with red ocher, carved, or traced with a finger or charcoal. A 1 hour visit to discover the Chauvet Pont d’Arc cave as if you were in it.