Exploring Ice Age Art



There are four clusters of caves found in Western Europe and three of them have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caves in the Pyrenees, in particular around Arièges, are not (yet) listed.


Most of the 300-400 caves in West Europe known to contain Ice Age art are either closed or difficult to access.

Dordogne, France


Lascaux was discovered in 1940, opened to the public in ’47, air conditioning added in ’59 and closed again in ’63. The replica, Lascaux II was opened in ’83 in a nearby quarry with almost 90% of the paintings. Due impact of its 10 million visitors this also threatened the original site. In 2016, Lascaux IV opened and is expected to attract 400,000 visitors a year Lascaux III was a traveling exhibition.

Documentary / Film

Font-de-Gaume and Combarelles

20 Km south of Lascaux is another center of prehistoric art with the caves of Font-de-Gaume. Combarelles, Cap Blance

Grotte de Rouffignac

Midi-Pyrénées, France

Ardeche, France

Documentary / Film

Cantabria, Spain


Caves with Paradores


Caves / Musea



Travel Info

Documentary / Film


Nearly 340 caves have now been discovered in France and Spain that contain art from prehistoric times. 

Cave paintings in El Castillo cave were found to date back to at least 37,300 years old by researchers at Bristol University, making them the oldest known cave art in Europe. 

The earliest known European figurative cave paintings are those of Chauvet Cave in France. These paintings date to earlier than 30,000 BCE

Other examples may date as late as the Early Bronze Age, but the well-known Magdalenian style seen at Lascaux in France (c. 15,000 BCE) and Altamira in Spain died out about 10,000 BCE, coinciding with the advent of the Neolithic period. Some caves probably continued to be painted over a period of several thousands of years









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