Persona (24)

What killed the King ?
Who was the famous playwright poet ?
A murderous plot disguised as suicide ?
The mystery of her disappearance
Was the french emperor poisoned ?
The strange occult roots of the Thule Society
The origin of vampires
The engineer of the future
The discovery of America
The predictions of the greatest clairvoyant
The child who came from none
Premonitorial signs announced his death ?
Has he existed ?
The Scotland Affair
Recent Sightings of the Immortal ?
Vision Before The Battle of Milvian Bridge ?
How Did He Die And What Did He Do Wrong ?
Was She Secret Agent H-21 ?
What Happened To The Nazi ?
The Controversial Seer
Mysteries of Cappella Sansevero
The Supernatural Powers Of A Simple Man
A Life of Travel, Freemasonry & Heresy
The Real Story

Science (18)

The disappearance of the wild man
Can the Red Planet sustain life ?
Who are our ancestors ?
Can animal magnetism cure people's disease ?
The strange case of Prahlad Jani fasting
Are black holes time breaches ?
Where does it come from ?
Do stars dictate our destiny ?
Fabulous treasures buried underground ?
Probability And The Meta Universe
How Did It All Start ?
What Threatens Our Future Planet ?
Summary Case Study
Is Our Planet Doomed to Die ?
Could Mankind be Wiped Out ?
How Did Earth's First Life Forms Appear ?
Can Man Survive Outside of Society ?
Who Were The Aboriginal ?

Ufology (5)

UFO crash in New Mexico ?
What kinda secrets lie inside the military zone ?
Are aliens real ?
Dogons in contact with aliens ?
Invisibility and Instantaneous Displacement ?

Parapsychology (20)

The sixth sense of people ?
The gift of foreseeing the future ?
Human energy field ?
Can hypnotherapy treat medical conditions ?
The meaning of dreams
A premonition 14 years in advance ?
A form of psychokinesis ?
Can the mind move objets ?
And thy fear of nothingness
Can a person be two places at once ?
Pain as offering for Lord Murugan
Walking on Hot Coals Without Injuries ?
Finding Water With Sticks
Forensic and Medical
The Case of Natasha Demkina
And Psychic Surgery
Mystery of Tulpas
The Case of Shankar
Fear of the New Millenium
Egyptian, Roman & Greek Mythology

Mysterious Place (48)

The Moai statues of Rapa Nui
The Lost City of the Incas
City of the cosmos
Inside the mysterious and long lost ancient city
A celestial and sacred place
Magic city and occultism in Italy
The secret fortune of the abbé Saunière
Ayers Rock
A vestige of Lemuria ?
King Solomon's Hidden Treasures
The secret of the Mayan astronaut
In search of the mythical Eldorado
What are menhirs for ?
The work of Mother Nature ?
Conquering Cancuen palace
The Mayan astronomers ?
Ancient Megalithic Ruins
Inside the Burial Tomb
The Stone City
Ancient Stone Circles
Origin of Chinese Civilization
Sculpture or meeting place for UFOs?
Derinkuyu & Kaymakli
Teutoburg Forest
The Mysterious Ruins
History & Sports
Horyuji & Todaiji Buddha
Top of the World
Mysterious Micronesia Ruins
King Solomon's Throne Sacred Fire
Story of the Golem Statue
Stone Ship Settings
Queen Zenobia And The Kingdom of Saba
Patmos, Delphi And Rhodes
Two Cities Lost In The Void
4 Cool Places To Visit
Deities and Heavenly Kings
The Lost Ships Graveyard
Origins of the Roman Empire
The House of Virgin Mary
The German Stonehenge
The Demon City
Ruins of Ancient Mayan City
Kingdom, Obelisks & Stelae
Ancient Incan Fortress
World's Oldest Temple
Interesting Facts and Mystery

Egypt (13)

What killed the young pharaoh ?
What secret hides the legendary monument ?
A monument that defies time
Bitten by a king cobra ?
What has become of the beautiful queen of Egypt ?
Assassinated by his womens ?
The secret books of the ibis headed god
And the mysterious Book of the Dead
The Valley of the Kings abandoned ?
A mythical country of Ancient Egypt ?
Light of Ancient Egypt ?
Ancient Egyptian Story
The First Egyptian Female Pharaoh

Cryptozoology (18)

Mythology and Symbolism
Is It Real ?
The Abominable Snowman
The Goat Sucker
The Deadly Song of the Fish Woman
The Legend of Sasquatch
Are They Simply Tales ?
Voodoo and Golems - Myth ?
Serial Killer of the Eighteenth Century ?
A Mythological Version of Kongamato ?
Legend and Life
West Virginia Winged Creature
A Desert Death Adder ?
Small Dragon or Salamander ?
Manipogo, Ogopogo & Igopogo
De Loys Ape, Orang Pendek, Yeren & Almas
Real Stories of Encounters

Strange Phenomenon (23)

Mysterious disappearances
The Ghost Ship
Spiritism and Ghosts
The Feeling of Already Seen
Ghosts and Haunted Houses
Exorcism of the Demons by a Shaman Priest
Mysterious Explosion in Siberia
The Route Without Gravity ?
Apparitions Or Hallucinations ?
How Fish Rain Happen
How Are They Made ?
Two Testimonies of the Afterlife
Examples and Theories
The Case of Hasnah Mohamed Meselmani
Mystery of Death Valley
A Mysterious Phenomena
What Causes The Phenomenon ?
Does Faith Healing Work ?
What Is The Meaning of Healing ?
Miracle or Mystification ?
Famous Cases of Spectral Apparitions
Story of the Legendary Ghost Ship
The Case of Urbain Grandier

Bible and Religion (29)

Who Wrote It ?
A Matter of Faith ?
Guardians of the Secret
The Sinner Denigrated by the Church
Fallen Angels
The Marks of Christ
Universal Deluge
The Dead Sea Scrolls
And The Star of Bethlehem
Where Is It ?
The Sources Of The Arcanes
Where is the Ark of the Covenant ?
Will It Ever Be Explained ?
Fact or Fiction ?
The Three Secrets
Secret Messages of the Virgin
Prophecy of Our Lady
Oldest Man in the Bible
What Happened to Them ?
Beheaded, He Walks Carrying His Own Head
Ecstasy of a Nun
Religious Artifacts With Power ?
What Agitated The People of Saint-Médard ?
Where Is It Located ?
A Woman On The Papal Throne ?
Dark Vatican Archives Facts Revealed
Christian Ethiopean Mystery
Mount Megiddo & The Bible

Magic (4)

Grimoire and Rituals
The Book Of Laws Of The Dead
Mediator Between the Spiritual and Material World
Origin of Misfortunes

Monument (10)

Did They Really Exist ?
What Did It Look Like ?
Has It Existed ?
The Mystery of Marian Cult
A Monument Filled With Mystery
The Holy Grail in Italy ?
The Fortress Of Love
Secrets & Mysteries in Scotland
History, Macbeth & Ghost Lores

Legend and Myth (15)

The Lost Continent
A Site of Legend
Just a Myth ?
The Lost City
The Fabulous Land Of Gold
And The Legend of Sherwood
The Modern Prometheus
The Eternal Saga
The Legend of the Treasure Well
Search For The Fountain of Life
Origin of the Scary Legend
Where Is It Located ?
Untold Story of the King of Lydia Wealth
King Minos Labyrinth in Greek Mythology
European legend ?

History (16)

The Book That Lit The Pyres
Historic Reality ?
Vikings - In America Before Columbus?
The Greatest Political Scandal of the United States
The Lost Colony
Who Is This Enigmatic Smiling Woman ?
Marinus Van der Lubbe Guilty ?
The Mystery Lingers
Nicolas Flamel and the Philosopher's Stone
Summary of Custer's Last Stand
Treasures Lost At Sea
Druids Cult of Violence
Did Nero Watch Rome Burning?
End of Crete Minoan Civilization?
Mystical Order

Relic (16)

An Endless Quest
Esoteric Nazism
An Ancient Stellar Computer ?
A Timeless Document
An Unknown Alphabet
The Spy War
Men And Dinosaurs Together ?
Ancient Electricity ?
Where Is It Located ?
Interesting Facts
Theories Debunked
Artifacts or Archaeological Forgery ?
Russian Artifacts or Alien Intelligence ?
An Ancient Egyptian Plane ?

People and Civilization (13)

The Oldest Civilization of Meso America
The Decline of the Mayan Civilization
The People of Amma
The Celtic's Spiritual Elite
A Kingdom Without Men
The Mysterious Destiny of a Tribe
Origin Of Language And Culture
Where Do They Come From ?
Cruel Burial Practices
An Indecipherable Language
Mystery of Shrunken Heads
Adena, Hopewell & Mississippian
Did They Arrive in South America ?

Disappearance (4)

A Great Aviator Missing
What Happened To Him ?
What Happened To Them ?
Did He Die At The Battle of Three Kings ?

Cold Case (4)

Who is Behind The Murders ?
The assassination of John F Kennedy
Who Killed Lady Diana ?
Who Was He ?

Conspiracy Theory (2)

The Conspiracy Theory
A Dreadful Plot ?

France (37)

Has She Risen ?
Eustache Dauger
Ogre or Bluebeard ?
Man or Woman ?
Julius Caesar vs Vercingetorix
Did Clovis Ancestors Come From Troy?
The Merovingians Dynasty
Suicide or Murder ?
Second "New France" to Napoleon III ?
How Did He Die ?
Agobard, Magonia, Tempestarii
Did It Really Exist ?
The Mysterious Cult
The Tragic And Suspicious Delay of Grouchy
Attack or Sham ?
Our Ancestors Cannibals ?
Traitor to the Fatherland ?
Usurpers of the Crown of France ?
How to Justify ?
France Murders
Who Ordered the St. Bartholomew's Day Mayhem ?
A Gigantic Swindle
Birth of a Republican Myth
Cure For The King’s Evil Disease ?
Crossing The Alps ?
Royal Sex Scandal
What Happened To Him ?
Who Betrayed Him ?
Impostor ?
Murder or Suicide ?
What Caused The Incident ?

Impostors (3)

Legitimate Heir of Catherine II ?
A Sham ?
Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanova Found Alive ?

Archaeology (9)

Where Is He Buried ?
500 KM of geoglyphs
What Are They For ?
Inca Child Sacrifice ?
Who Was Ötzi The Iceman ?
Aboriginal in the Australian Bush
Chalk Man of Dorset England
Hoax or Reality ?
Tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang ?

Famous Ancient Cave Paintings of Lascaux France & Altamira


Both the first expression of the artistic genius of humanity and the manifestation of its spiritual dimension, the decorated caves of prehistory, the oldest art in the world, have not revealed all their secrets.

Lascaux and Altamira

In 1879, a 5-year-old girl, who accompanied her father on a visit to a cave in Altamira, Spain, discovered strange painted animals: the cave art of Paleolithic hunters appeared for the first time. Since then, other discoveries, many in Lascaux in the south of France, have followed. But, despite new, more refined methods of analysis, it was necessary to overcome many ideological prejudices in order to try to interpret and give a meaning to them.

History of prehistoric art and stone age cave painting

Cave art originated around 30,000 BCE, but it did not really flourish until between 20,000 and 12,000 BCE, at the end of the Upper Paleolithic. The first pictorial manifestations, around 30,000, were first stylized drawings carved in the rock, linked to the emerging cult of the mother goddess, with sexual connotations (vulva). From -24,000 to -22,000, monochrome engravings and paintings appear (mammoths and woolly rhinos). Around -20,000, the peak of the last ice age, we witness the proliferation of cave art and the start of ritual ceremonies. The first polychrome cave paintings, as in Lascaux, appear around -18,000, then, from -15,000, they become more elaborate, reaching their peak around -13,000 with reliefs and naturalistic, monochrome and polychrome paintings. Finally, around 12,000 years BCE, cave art disappears in Altamira, ironically, where it all began for us. In all, no less than 300 Paleolithic caves, containing paintings and parietal reliefs, are spread over a geographical area limited to the south of France and the north of Spain.

A favorable period

Cave paintings at Lascaux France

The appearance of ancient cave art corresponds to a period of climatic upheavals, but also of unprecedented social and technological innovations. Demography is increasing, exchanges between populations are intensifying and concern increasingly distant regions, a new lithic industry is developing: tools on blades, flint tools with dual functions, various chisels; new hunting weapons are used: harpoons, spears, thrusters. Finally, the first burials with deposits of weapons and ornaments bear witness to a new approach to death.

This geographic, demographic, economic and social concentration is due to a sedentarization of nomads - who had already developed an older, movable art, which often accompanies rock art - in an area with a more temperate climate, near the Atlantic coasts where there are many fish and edible plants. The decline in wildlife or its migration to high latitudes may also explain the new importance of fishing and farming. Special conditions of development therefore contribute to the emergence of cave art in a determined geographical area.

True prehistoric chic

However, it remains to give meaning to these artistic frescoes. Once the first moments of disbelief have passed, the scholars who have come to admire these prehistoric paintings cry foul. But after Altamira, the discoveries multiplied: La Mouthe in 1895, Combarelles and Font-de-Gaume in 1901, while waiting for Lascaux cave discovery in 1940.

At the start of the 20th century, there was no longer any doubt that primitive men painted this fantastic bestiary deep in caves believed to be a habitat. The period is then strongly influenced by the theory of "art for the sake of art", which favors a purely aesthetic analysis: these representations would therefore only reveal the desire of Paleolithic hunters to surround themselves with beauty in their daily environment. It is fine to be a cavemen, one does not take less care of its interior… And the fact that the great majority of the decorated caves are located on - or under - the French ground will flatter the cockade pride of some who will not fail to salute here the first manifestation of the artistic genius of France which would mark the advent of the history of art! But prehistoric science structuring itself and refining its methods of analysis, under the leadership of Abbé Breuil and especially André Leroi-Gourhan, we soon offered very different interpretations, which began to clarify the mystery, without ever totally dispel it.

Caves that are sanctuaries

Contrary to popular belief, caves are not habitat. Paleolithic men lived in shelters under rocks, and undoubtedly in branch huts, sketches of the first houses. These caves where they painted, and access to which is never decorated, are particularly difficult to access and go deep underground. Thus, at Tuc-d'Audoubert, in Ariège, you have to walk more than 700 meters of a perilous path to discover statuettes of bison modeled in clay. Other caves are only accessible after crossing many natural obstacles. The impression each time is that of a crypt, of a place kept hidden and that one only visits occasionally. There took place a primitive cult which united man and nature in mysterious ceremonies. To try to understand the meaning and purposes of these ceremonies, it will be necessary to appeal to the human sciences, and particularly to ethnology.

The spirit of the shaman

The sorcerer or shaman at Trois-Frères cave in Ariège

To explain the complex ritual system of a universe of beliefs specific to Cro-Magnon men, researchers will use their knowledge of traditional cultures, mainly African, where the phenomena of totemism have been described at length. The decorated Paleolithic cave then appears as a place of worship for a tribe or clan gathered around a totem representing an ancestor. But it is above all the study of the aborigines of Australia, whose rock paintings express a complex but better known mythology, of the Inuit, hunter-gatherers of the arctic and sub-arctic regions, or even of the reindeer hunters of North-East Asia which brings the interpretation best accepted today: shamanism. The shaman maintains a privileged relationship with the supernatural, the community requests him to intervene with the spirits during illnesses or difficulties, such as the absence of game or a conflict with another tribe. The famous "sorcerer" of the Trois-Frères cave, in Ariège, at the same time deer, man and wolf, would he not be one of those shamans dressed in animal skins, engaging in some ritual dance, and symbolizing, according to Father Breuil, "the Spirit governing the multiplication of game and hunting expeditions"?

World order

André Leroi-Gourhan will offer another explanation by noting that the animals most often represented (horses and bison) are not those (reindeer and deer) which constituted the main diet of these men. In addition, hunting scenes featuring men are extremely rare. Engraved signs, symbolizing the female sex (split triangle) or male (vertical line) often accompany the paintings, and for the prehistorian these signs of a sexual nature (vulva and phallus) are associated with this or that animal according to a strict order. We can also see at Pech Merle a series of five engravings in which a ruminant is transformed into a female silhouette.

The very location of the various animal representations in a cave seems to reflect an intention. Thus horses, mammoths or bison are almost always located on large panels in the center of the cave. On the other hand, deer are mostly represented at the entrance, while the bear is only represented deep in the caves. In Lascaux, Niaux, Cosquer or in the Chauvet cave would therefore be read, according to male and female principles, the order of the world as it was perceived by Paleolithic men.

Initiation rites and the fight against death

Gathered in these caves, prehistoric hunters are also said to have engaged in initiation or passage rites. This hypothesis is confirmed when we look at features more specific to these rites that mark birth, puberty, marriage and death. Indeed, the dances which usually accompany them have the essential function of revealing the mysteries of the adult world. These adolescent rites, which take the form of experiencing boundaries through painful practices (circumcision or tattoos), often take place in seclusion and darkness, away from the community. On the other hand, flutes and other musical instruments have been found as well as traces of the feet of adolescents which suggest a choreography (in Ariège, in the cave of Niaux, more than 500 steps of children of thirteen at fifteen; in that of Tuc-d'Audoubert, footprints of six children in six rows). It is certain that the danger, the emotion were an important part of the ritual.

Thus, Paleolithic rock art would reflect the spirituality of Cro-Magnon men. No doubt it is the expression of an adaptation to the community requirements of a social life which is becoming more complex, and whose beliefs, ceremonies and rites ensure social cohesion, protection and the transmission of values ​​for the survival of the group.

Impressive sites

To create the earliest masterpieces that adorn the caves, Palaeolithic men set up real "sites" at the bottom of them that modern study and observation techniques can reconstruct. The lighting, first of all, essential, was obtained using rudimentary or more elaborate oil lamps like the one found at Lascaux, the handle of which is decorated with the same signs found on the walls. To reach the highest places (sometimes up to 7 meters), it was necessary to erect solid scaffolding, which implies, for some particularly difficult to access caves, rigorous logistics which reflects the importance given to such a business. The colors were obtained using ground pigments (iron oxide, manganese) and mixed with potassium feldspar, bound with oils and animal fats. The artist's tools were varied: brushes, bamboo sticks, brushes, vegetable stamps, stone smoothers ... Far from being an art of pleasure, the decoration of the caves therefore implied an impressive know-how that required community perfect organization and transmission of knowledge.

Enigmatic hands

Hand painting at Pech Merle

Among the most moving testimonies preserved in the decorated caves, there are these painted hands with spread fingers that can be seen at Pech Merle, in the Cosquer cave or even in Gargas which contains no less than 150. Made in a stencil (the artist has blown the paint around with his own hand) or plastered on the wall, red or black, sometimes enhanced with symbolic signs, are they simply the artist's signature? Arranged in series or isolated in places that are difficult to access, they also seem to be a mark of identification for an entire group, unless they represent, as a kind of first scriptural sign, the human being, moreover strangely absent in the works. cave decorations. No one has yet been able to unravel the mystery of these hands, painted 20,000 years ago and which still seem to beckon us.