is one of the longest and most ramifide caves with palaeolithic paintings. Total
length of all the chambers and galleries in three levels is about 10 kms.
The cave itself was known long ago. It was mentioned in F. de Belfore's
"Universal cosmography of the world (1575).
A plan of the cave with an
indication of ancient inscriptions on the Large Decorated Ceiling was made at
the end of the last centure" (Martel). In 1915 the cave was visited by abbot
Henry Breuil, a beginner - researcher of the caves then. In 1956 the piece
of land with the cave was bought by the Plassard family. The same year their
friends, archaeologists Romain Robert and Louis-Rene Nougier visited the estate.
On the 26-th of June Robert, looking at the wall of the cave, called his friend:
"Hi, Toto, come here and see!". These were depictions of two mammoths - an obvious
testimony of their palaeolithic age. Since that time the paintings
and engravings of Rouffingac cave became the object of close study by specialists
and the place of continuous pilgrimage for tourists. The cave being very long,
a narrow-gauge railway with special mini-trains, consisting of open platforms
each for 6-8 persons, was made there. Special lamps are fixed on the platforms,
lightening some sections of the walls with paintings while the train is passing
are still discussing the authenticity and dating to the Upper Palaeolithic of
some depictions from Rouffingac cave. Mostly non-French specialists have
doubts. The majority of arguments concerns the frieze of three rhino figures
and a part of the ceiling featuring ibex figures.
There are statements of some speleologists, who had visited the cave in the
period between September and December 1948
and saw only two rhinos then and
the third one appeared only in 1949. Some specialists think that there are
depictions of modern "naive" artists on the ceiling. Rouffingac paintings have
not been dated according to C-14 yet and the necessity of the dating is