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  • Palaeolithic : Cave Paintings

    Pech Merle Cave


    Pech Merle cave is in the south of France, department Lot, 280 m high on the eastern slope of the hill of the same name. Pech Merle was discovered in 1922 by two teenagers, H. David and A. Duterte. It is the main element of a system, consisting of the neighbouring caves. The average width of its galleries is 10 m and the height of the ceilings is often from 5 to 10 m. It lies in two levels but the paintings are seen only in the first one; total length of the painted walls is 300 m. The paintings include painted and graphic depictions of animals and different signs. Besides, there are anthropomorphic figures too, some of them are rather realistic. On the whole there are about 700 depictions on the cave walls. But the traces of prehistoric peoples are not only on the walls of the cave: imprints of children's feet, fragments of charcoal, the remains of a deer shoulder- blade and three silicic tools: a burin, a lamp and a shaped stone. All these finds may be dated to the Upper Palaeolithic. A small number of finds and other traces, left by a man on the cave floor testifies to the that it was not intended for a long inhabitation and was visited rather seldom, only in connection with some ritual actions.

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