Lascaux en Dordogne, France

A trip backwards in time, almost 20.000 years ago

The beautiful and impressing art of the Ice Age was found in grottos and caves. They witness of the high cultural standard of our early ancestors. The grotto of Lascaux close to Montignac in the area of the Dordogne was discovered in 1940.  It had to be closed because mould fungus grew upon the cave walls and desstroyed some of the art works. This mouls is caused by the moisture of respiratory air of thousands of visitors.

Two copies of the grotto have been constructed and can be visited as  a museum. The latest was opened in 2016. The photos of this page were taken in "Lascaux 4", the International Center of Art parietal.

Red bull with black head

The pictures of the ice age were painted deep inside the cave. They show animals such as bulls, horses, rhinozeros. These animals were not on the paleolithis menu! So the theory of hunting magic had to be resigned.

The animals are always accompagnied by signs. We don't know their meaning yet but these signs must have had a symbolic meaning which the people of the iceages were able to read and understand during long periods of time.

Archeologists have made several attempste of interpretation of these signs, of which religious meaning is the most common. It is also possible that the animals represent the sky with its constallations of stars. The Taurus is still an astrogolical sign in our time.

Higly developped ice age culture

A final explanation of this ancient artwork can so far not be given. This amazing artwork will nevertheless change our attitude towards stone age cultures. We can no longer look back at our ancestors as the "man with scruffy wild hair, uttering wild sounds and holding a club-like weapon in his hand". The visitor of the Lascaux cave is striken by the fact that these ancient people of the stone age lived in a highly elaborated culture and disposed of a religion. If any connecting link between their time and ours can be found, it might be searched within indigene cultures such as the Inuit cultures.

In the Lascaux cave there is only one anthropomorphic picture. It shows a stickman with a bird's head, lying in a sloping positon of about 45°. His hand are like bird's feet and he seems to have an erected penis which has lead to lots of discussions. As you can see in the photo, there is a bison in front of the stickman. This bison seems so be hurt so his bowels hang out underneath him. The bisons' head looks backward. A bird on a high stick is depicted underneath the stickman.

  • In many of the caves and rock shelters of the area close to the Lascaux cave, the symbol of the vulva has been carved into the stones.  Some of them are exhibited in the "Musée National de Préhistoire" in Les-Eyzies-de-Tayac, about 25 km South of the Lascaux cave.
  • It is startling for our contemporary eye to see this female sign carved so often in caves. I heard other visitors say that even the ice-age-people had their own "Playboy-magazine". To my point of view the meaning is far away from this. All human life is born by women out of their vulva and so it is a symbol for life and rebirth of life. Iceage culture also created small female figurines depicting naked woman. They are interpreted as goddesses and they are a symbol for creation and recreation of life.

The Dordogne is a very beautiful green landscape with hills and woods and flat rivers winding like serpents. The houses are mostly built of yellow stones with shingle roofs. Old churches and medievial castles are to be found all over.

If you want to visit this amazing part in the South-West of France, I highly recommend the little holiday house of Anne Lepers, in a hamlet close to Montignac. It is the most quiet place, peaceful as though universal peace had miraculously begun. The house is decorated with love in a traditional style. Anne Lepers and her partner Rafael live besides this cute little house and are always there for advice. The garden is a paradise with dozens of rose bushes. This is my favourite holiday home in this part of France!

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