In the text : BP means “before present”

  • Entrance


    The stairs were carved in 1923, à proximité de l’entrée préhistorique.

  • Entrance (next)

    Entrance (next)

    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

    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 (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

    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

    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 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.

  • The ceiling

    The ceiling

    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

    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.

  • Footprints


    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

    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

    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

    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 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”.

  • The bison-women

    The bison-women

    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

    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