Current problems in dating palaeolithic cave art
or Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave is near Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, in the Ardèche département, in southern France.It became famous in 1994 when Paleolithic artwork was found on the walls. It was occupied by humans at two different times: the Aurignacian and the Gravettian.There are also two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly shape to them.This combination of subjects has led experts in pre-historic art and cultures to believe that there was likely a ritualistic, shamanistic, or magical aspect to these paintings.The artists who produced these unique paintings used techniques not often observed in other cave art.
Paleolithic cave art is an exceptional archive of early human symbolic behavior, but because obtaining reliable dates has been difficult, its chronology is still poorly understood after more than a century of study.
Typical of most cave art, there are no paintings of complete human figures, although there is one possible, partial "Venus" figure that may represent the legs and genitals of a woman.
A peculiar figure appears to have the lower body of a woman with the upper body of a bison.
The decorated surface of this 1.5-t roof-collapse block was in direct contact with the exposed archaeological surface onto which it fell.
There was no sedimentation between the engraved surface and the archaeological layer upon which it collapsed.
There were remains of many animals, some which are now extinct. Most of the artwork dates to the earlier Aurignacian era (30,000 to 32,000 years ago).