First discovered in 1994, the cave was entered via a tiny well-hidden crevice – the original entrance having been obliterated by a rock slide well over 20,000 years ago… resulting in a perfectly pristine paleolithic site. Learning from the sad experience at the famous Lascaux cave (~100 km distant), where allowing tourist access resulted in severe (non-malicious) degradation of the cave walls, entrance to Chauvet is very strictly controlled.
What was found here is astounding art from 25-35+ thousand years ago… much older than any other cave art yet found in Europe, nearly twice as old as Lascaux. We see no gradual development from primitive to advanced here. It seems to have burst forth fully formed. The birth of human art. And music. And spirit.
You must watch. Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” follows: