Visual Archaeology Interpretation



Lascaux Cave Website 2000

Alert and frightened
Seeing, breathing, hurrying
They are swimming across the river.

Grade Level 9-12
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.

The Cave of Lascaux

Chauvet Cave

World Monuments Fund List of Most Endangered Sites

Lascaux Cave Lesson Plan


Painters of the Caves


















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Copyright ©2004 Linda Kreft