Cave Website 2000
Alert and frightened
Seeing, breathing, hurrying
They are swimming across the river.
Geography • Social Studies • Art
The Chauvet Cave contains the oldest Ice Age paintings known.
Most of the colors in the paintings are red, yellow, brown,
and black. Researchers believe that minerals found in the
caves were fashioned into a type of crayon or were mixed
with water to form paint. The cave painters also used charcoal
fires in the caves. In Lascaux Cave, discovered in 1940,
and at Chauvet, the cave painters applied the paint with
their fingers, a pad of animal fur, and brushes of animal
hair or crushed twigs. Though none of the paintings are
signed, since these artists had no written language, in
Chauvet the artists made handprints. They used two methods:
applying the paint to the palm of the hand and then pressing
the hand against the stone wall, and blowing paint from
a tube, or perhaps directly from the mouth, around the perimeter
of the hand while the hand is pressed against the wall.
Many of the paintings are outlines of animals. Some include
shading that adds a three-dimensional quality.
Cave of Lascaux
Monuments Fund List of Most Endangered Sites
Cave Lesson Plan