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Lascaux – Altamira

Posté le 05 September 2016 par L'équipe Lascaux

Two caves turned toward the future

Could the histories of the Dordogne’s Lascaux cave in Montignac and Spain’s Altamira cave in Santillana del Mar be similar ?

Like Lascaux, the Spanish decorated cave contains one of the jewels of the Upper Palaeolithic. Just like its counterpart in the Perigord, the original cave was closed to the public to preserve it. And like us, the Spaniards created a facsimile a few hundred metres away for the public to visit.


400 faithfully reproduced drawings and engravings

Since 2001, this site reveals what Altamira was 15,000 years ago, and presents to the world the artistic masterpieces of Palaeolithic man. Both a museum and a research centre, it allows visitors to view the most faithful reproductions possible of the various paintings. There is a spectacular dimension along with an attention to detail. The animal most often represented is the steppe bison, accompanied by horses, boars (very rare in the Palaeolithic). The great room counts 16, in different poses and using different techniques.

In addition to the realism of the paintings, we find the ochre and black that we also see at Lascaux. There is a real profusion of paintings, which makes the cave very similar to its older Lascaux counterpart (from circa 17,000 to 20,000 years ago).


Two caves turned toward the future

The Altamira Museum, created in 1979, is an institution that’s allows us to discover all the secrets of the cave, proof of our past in southern Europe. The visit of the “Neo-cave”, followed by six exhibition rooms, presents the culture and lifestyle of prehistoric man.

And with the opening of the International Centre for Cave Art on December 15th, visitors will be able to discover the replica of the entire Perigord cave. In the heart of Montignac, some hundred metres from the original cave, the future facility will revolve around the use of new image and virtual technologies in the service of “mediation”.

A few weeks ago, a delegation from Dordogne visited the Spanish site. The objective of this visit was to establish links between Lascaux and Altamira and to promote together cave and rock art.



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