Visit the cave
In the text : BP means « before present »
The stairs were carved in 1923, à proximité de l’entrée préhistorique.
Downstairs, on the right, you can see the tunnel dug into the scree which closed the palaeolithic entrance at about 10,000 ( BP, M )
The Combel gallery
Notice the bear’s lairs dug in the clay. Bones found in the cave are shown (bear, hyena).
The root of an oak-tree, still alive (upstairs when you go to the tickets-office, three trunks with a white question mark)..
The Combel gallery (continuation)
The Combel gallery continues (no access during the tour) with paintings of the old phase (about 25,000 BP) : dots, horses, lion, cervidae.
The Black Frieze
Red marks : iron oxide, perhaps 25,000 BP. Black drawings : manganese oxide (perhaps charcoal ?), perhaps 20,000 BP. 1 horse, 4 bison, 11 mammoths, 4 auroch.
Sur la corniche
Dessins au trait noir : bisons, mammouths, un mammouth utilisant le relief naturel de la paroi, environ 24 à 25.000 ans BP.
La salle des peintures
La vaste salle des peintures rassemble plusieurs ensembles de figures dont les Chevaux ponctués, les femmes-bisons, le plafond des tracés digités et des dessins aux traits noirs.
Finger drawings, (several periods). The ceiling was reached by climbing the blocks. Open circle, mammoths, female human figures.
Right, on the blocks, in black : down : a mammoth ; up : a bison, perhaps 20,000 ( BP ).
The hall of the discs
Each disc is composed of two calcite slabs separated by a very small gap. They were formed at a hairline crack in the rock.
A dozen prints, in two directions, of an adolescent boy.
The authenticity of these prints is guaranteed by the fact that the prehistoric entrance was sealed off at the thawing of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 BP.
The bear's gallery
End of the low level of the cave. This gallery has very old columns formed in an early phase of concretion and eroded by later activity.
We are deep within the hillside and about 50 metres underground. The dome is about 11 metres from the floor of the cav.
The bear's passage
Originally it was a crawling passage. The floor level was lowered for the visits and the resulting rubble piled up on either side. Left, engraving : a bear’s head, perhaps 23,000 or 24,000 BP.
The wounded man
Left, under the dome, in red, drawing of a man with four lines on either side and a sign.
The cave pearls
The water falls from an opening in the ceiling during heavy rainfalls.This intermittent waterfall carries with it sand and gravels. When these are trapped in small cavities in the pool, they are coated with calcite while they are polished by the action of the running water. More unusual is the « spinning-top ».
Right, in red : a red deer’s head.
Left, below, in red : a stencilled hand with 13 dots. Left, below, in red : female figures, dots, mammoth.
The dotted horse
Left, in black : a bison, perhaps 20,000 BP. The dotted horses about 25,000 BP (radiocarbon dated) (M+F). Right-hand horse : his small head is drawn in the natural cut of the rock, resembling a horse’s head. On his back : a large red fish (it seems to be a pike) (M+F).
Six stencilled black hands all around the horses. Black dots inside and outside. Red dots. Left-hand horse, in red : 7 hook-like signs (M).
Photos : ©R. Delon – Copy is prohibited