Lascaux cave dating

The replica, known as Lascaux II, opened in 1983 and now draws more than 250,000 tourists each year.'Recent research on Lascaux has included some investigations of the hundreds of bacteria which have formed in the cave.Since 2007, a new fungus, which has created grey and black blemishes, has begun spreading in the real cave.After World War II, the small cave was opened to the public and, at one point, it was receiving as many as 1,800 visitors per day.In addition to the painted images, Lascaux is rich with engravings of animals as well as abstract designs.It has long been argued that in the absence of natural light, these works could only have been created with the aid of torches and stone lamps filled with animal fat, however new research has suggested that the parts of the caves might have been temporarily illuminated by the sun at certain times of the year (see below).

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At Lascaux and Chauvet, another magnificently painted cave in France, images of animals are superimposed on top of earlier depictions, which suggests that the motivation for the paintings may have been in the act of portraying the animals rather than in the artistic effect of the final composition. Most of the paintings are located at a distance from the cave's entrance, and many of the chambers are not easily accessible.The plan and section of the entrance to the cave show that before the landslide had blocked the entrance, at sunset on the summer solstice, the sun illuminated the inside of the cave.In 1999, the curator of Lascaux and others witnessed the event for the first time in over 15,000 years.Near to the entrance of the Lascaux cave complex is a magnificent painting of a bull.Hanging over its shoulder is what appears (to us) to be a map of the Pleiades, the cluster of stars sometimes called the Seven Sisters.