THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: SEPTEMBER 12, 1940

Lascaux Cave Paintings Discovered

lascaux-cave-paintingsOn September 12, 1940, four boys formed a small expedition team to explore a shaft they found while hiking through the sloping woods above Lascaux manor. Armed with shovels and picks, they expanded the restricted opening enough to enable them to descend into the unexplored chambers below. As they made their way through the narrow entrance shaft into the largest room of the cave, the young explorers noticed the walls and ceiling were adorned with brightly colored renderings of bulls and other animals. The boys had stumbled upon one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the twentieth century–the Paleolithic paintings at Lascaux Cave.

The Cave at Lascaux, or Lascaux Grotto, is located in hills surrounding the Vézère River valley near the village of Montignac, Dordogne, in southwest France. It is one of 150 prehistoric settlements, and nearly two dozen painted caves, dating back to the Stone Age in the Vézère valley. Lascaux Grotto contains perhaps the most unprecedented exhibit of prehistoric art discovered to date.

“Prehistoric Cave Art Found at Lascaux.” Science and Its Times. Ed. Neil Schlager and Josh Lauer. Vol. 6. Detroit: Gale, 2001. World History in Context. Web.


Learn more about prehistoric cave paintings found in Southern France and Spain »

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