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Background photo by kind permission of laughingmackerel
10,000 Years BC - Gallery
A small selection of photos taken on recent visits to the Prehistoric sites of the Vézère valley and Ardèche region of France. These images and a much wider range of others form part of the resource pack given to schools after our KS2 Prehistory and Archaeology workshop sessions.
Reconstruction of an artist at work in the Chauvet Cave, where some of the oldest known
cave art has been discovered.
Modern graffiti - did cave art serve a similar purpose? Like cave artists, modern street
artists use particular sites and often over-write their images onto earlier images.
The La Madeleine Bison, thought to have been carved onto a broken spear thrower fragment
during the late Palaeolithic.
The 'Faon aux l'Oiseaux' spear thrower found in southern France,
carved from reindeer antler between 12,000 and 17,000 years ago.
Rock shelter overlooking the Vézère valley - other ancient shelters have been found among the cliffs in the background.
Although we refer to prehistoric people as 'cave' people, they lived under rock ledges and in tents for most of the time.
This undramatic rock niche behind a railway station is where the very first early modern human bones were discovered in 1868.
The site was named 'Abri Cro Magnon' after M. Magnon, the land owner at the time.
Archaeological layers in the Abri Pataud Palaeolithic rock shelter site. The natural cliff face can be seen in
the top right of the photo. Occasional roof collapses sealed ancient occupation debris for millennia.
One of the hardest parts of discovering cave art is recognising it. The red outline surrounds an ancient carving of an Ibex
found in the ceiling of the Abri Pataud rock shelter. Its large curved horns can be seen in the upper part of the outline.
The 'Primitive Man' statue designed by French sculptor Paul Dardé (1888-1963) was inaugurated in 1931.
Mistakenly believed by many to represent Cro-Magnon man (who's remains were first discovered nearby), it is actually
a representation of our evolutionary relative Neanderthal Man. It is situated beneath a limestone overhang
typical of those occupied by prehistoric hunter-gatherers in this region.
Wistfully he gazes across the centuries, and across the river valley that has since become known as 'The Valley of Man'.
Palaeofacts: Did you know in May 2013 a Woolly Mammoth frozen into the North Siberian permafrost was discovered in such a complete state of preservation that the carcass oozed liquid blood as it began to thaw out. Carbon-dated to around 40,000 years old, the Mammoth (nicknamed Buttercup) died at a time when our Neanderthal relatives were still walking the Earth. Scientists are hoping to recover sufficient DNA from Buttercup to be able to clone a Mammoth in the future, but intact uncontaminated DNA in such an ancient animal is extremely difficult to find.
Winter backdrop image reproduced by kind permission of laughingmackerel.
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