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6.The Dordogne, France- Lascaux's Prehistoric Cave Paintings

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From about 18000 until 10000 BC, long before the Stonehenge and the pyramids, back when mammoths and sabretooth cats roamed the earth, prehistoric people painted deep inside caves in this part of Europe. These weren't just crude doodles, but huge and sophisticated projects executed by artists and supported by an impressive culture, the Magdalenians. The regions Limestone Cliffs honeycombed with painted caves are unique on this planet. Tourists gather nearby at Lascaux, home of the regions, and the world's most famous cave paintings. These caves were discovered accidentally, in 1940, by four kids and their dog. Over the next couple of decades, there's about a million visitors climb through the prehistoric wonderland, inadvertently dragging in fungus on their shoes, and changing the humidity and temperature with their breathing. In just 15 years, the precious art deteriorated more than in the 15000 years before that. The caves were closed to the public. Visitors can now experience the wonder of Lascaux by touring an adjacent replica. When their time comes, visitors are called to meet their guide for a look at the precisely copied cave called Lascaux 2. Then we are in the Oxen room, the most spectacular room of Lascaux. It's a sacred place. We don't live in a church, they never lived in the caves. And, it's a huge composition, it's a calculated composition, because, they have taken advantage of the strip of rock to relate in a circle; two groups of bulls facing each other. And, in the center of this composition, they have united the three principle animals of their school, horse, ox and deer. Is this the hunting scene? No, this is not a hunting scene, because, on the walls, the hunter doesn't exist. They never tell the everyday life. The meaning is more complex. What is the biggest animal? It's this bull. It is the largest painting in the cave. 16 feet, from the top of the horn to the tip of the tail. The guide explains that this 600 animal multi-cave compostion was the work of a complex society, the Magdalenians. Their culture allowed skilled artists to work over and extended period of time, in this sacred place. Their effects may be on the walls, the dream, their meets, and the liege. And, the image will be a bow to across generations. The image becomes the memory of the society. The art of fresco is supposed to be around 17000 thousand years old. But, compared to the beginning of the humanity, which was born in Africa 3 million years ago, it looks like it was yesterday, they weren't like us. The region has many more examples of prehistoric cave painting. In the nearby National Museum of Prehistory provides and instructive background. This modern museum houses over 18000 bones, stones, and fascinating little doodads, all uncovered locally. Artifacts are originals, and show that how the Magdalenian people lived 15000 years ago. They were far more advanced than your textbook cavemen. Skeletons were discovered draped in delicate jewellery. Stag teeth and tiny shells were, it seems, lovingly drilled to be strung into necklaces. These barbed spearheads and fish-hooks would work well today. Finely carved spear throw have shown impressive realism for something three times as old as the oldest pyramids. Imagine flickering flames from these oil lamps lighting those art covered caverns. Today, as we ponder the prehistoric caves and the artifacts of the Magdalenian people here in the Dordogne, we can marvel at how much we actually have in common with these people, and how sophisticated their culture was so long ago.

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Duration: 4 minutes and 32 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: pgtranscribes on Apr 20, 2015

6.The Dordogne, France- Lascaux's Prehistoric Cave Paintings

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