Like all other known cave art in Europe, they depict animals and – in the case of Chauvet – human hands.
If the volcano thesis is accepted, historians may have to revise their theories about the meaning and purpose of cave paintings.
Now, scientists have assembled more than 250 radiocarbon dates made from rock art samples, animal bones and the remains of charcoal used by humans scattered on the ground to create the most accurate timeline yet of who used the cave and when.
The Chauvet Cave, a vast Paleolithic cave dating back more than 36,000 years ago, was selected on Sunday as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
With the help of cutting-edge technology, the beautiful drawings of prehistoric beasts on the rough limestone walls of the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave have been reproduced to create the biggest replica cave in the world.The cave was first explored by a group of three speleologists: Eliette Brunel-Deschamps, Christian Hillaire, and Jean-Marie Chauvet for whom it was named.Chauvet (1996) has a detailed account of the discovery.The Aurignacian people, among the first to live in Europe, brought to the cave a fully formed artistic tradition that used a variety of techniques involving charcoal and a type of red pigment.Now, a new batch of 88 radiocarbon dates has further refined the cave’s chronology.
Scientists believe that they have identified the oldest known images of erupting volcanoes, daubed in red and white pigments over other cave paintings in south-eastern France around 36,000 years ago.