On 18th December 1994, three cavers were inspecting sites in the Ardeche, southern France, when they came across the hidden entrance to an underground cavern. Inside, they picked out traces of colour on the cave walls: pictures of a mammoth, a huge bear, rhinoceroses and lions. Here, in this hidden network of underground caverns, was a collection of 300 wall paintings, and traces of man dating back 30,000 years. They are the oldest examples of prehistoric art ever found - some 15,000 years older than those at Lascaux - and the cave had remained undisturbed for so long that the even the footprints in the floor were those of Stone Age man.;This text recounts this discovery and presents a series of photographs of the cave paintings.
The images are particulary impressive in terms of the techniques used to present perspective and motion: many figures interact with each other; some are staggered; others are drawn on bulges in the cave wall to further suggest depth. An epilogue by Jean Clottes, a prehistoric art specialist, provides an analysis of the paintings, and sets them in context. Now that the cave is closed to the public, this book provides an opportunity to view the paintings at first hand, revealing the mastery of our Stone Age ancestors.