The 32,000-Year-Old Paintings of Chauvet Cave in Southern France

Who were our ancestors? Did humans originate all in one place, or did they evolve on several different continents simultaneously?

In December 1994, one of the most important prehistoric sites was discovered in southern France along the bank of the river Ardeche near the Pont-d’Arc.

The discovery? Beautifully preservered 32,000-year-old cave paintings, some of the oldest in the world.

The cave was accidentally found by three local cavers, Christian Hillaire, Eliette Brunel-Deschamps and Jean-Marie Chauvet after whom the cave was named.

After its discovery, the artwork of the cave amazed the world.

Recently, this Chauvet Cave was explored in Werner Herzog’s film Cave of Forgotten Dreams 3D.

These extraordinary paintings were done with amazingly expressive techniques and represent many animals, including rhinoceroses, mammoths, lions, giant stags and even an owl.

Take a moment to contemplate the paintings, their magnificence and power, and try to ponder the origins of humanity.

Thirty radiocarbon datings have been made in the cave, confirming the location was frequented at two different intervals: between 32,000 and 25,000 years ago.

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