Prehistoric Cave Paintings An Exploration of the Discovery at Lascaux, and Themes of Paleolithic Era Cave Paintings
Cave Paintings: The Prehistoric Novel As you may already know, before man had a written language, stories and history were passed down in other ways. We will explore cave paintings today as the prehistoric way of recording important events.
The Discovery at Lascaux On September 12, 1940, four teenagers stumbled upon a major discovery. When an old pine tree fell down, it showed a hole in the ground under its roots. The teenagers discovered the hole, went down inside of it, and found the historic cave paintings at Lascaux. It was thought that these paintings had been done originally more than 17,000 years ago.
The Exploration Continues Over the next days and weeks, months and years, the caves were explored, and several separate themes and caves were found. They are The Great Hall of the Bulls, The Painted Gallery, The Lateral Passage, The Chamber of Engravings, The Main Gallery, The Chamber of Felines, and the Shaft of the Dead Man.
A Painting From the Hall of the Bulls at Lascaux
An Image From the Painted Gallery at Lascaux
The Closing of the Cave In 1955, mold and plant life was noticed growing on the cave walls, which was dangerous for the cave paintings. In 1963, after several studies were done, it was decided that the cave would be closed to visitors. Once the visits to the cave had been cancelled, the causes of the changes were eliminated, and the original climate was restored. The Lascaux cave art returned to the state it was in on the day of its discovery. A life sized model, Lascaux II was to be opened, so visitors could still experience the cave. It remains open today.
Interpreting Cave Paintings
Cave Painting Themes Most cave paintings have these major themes: Animals Human representations signs
What Do You See in This Picture? People Animals Spears/Weapons What do you think this picture might represent?
What Story Do You See in This Painting?
Other Cave Painting at Lascaux
More Images From Lascaux
Resources This slide show was compiled using the resource: http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/arcnat/lascaux/en/index.html For more information and great activities, as well as extra credit, visit this website, and write a one page summary of what you learned, in your own words.