Prehistoric cave paintings - France (2005) & Spain (2006, 2010)


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November 24th 2010
Published: November 24th 2010
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prehistoric shelter - Dordogne
I've always been fascinated about how humans evolved. After seeing the movie "Clan of the Cave Bear", I took some trips to France (2005) and Spain (2006 & 2010) to see some world famous prehistoric cave paintings.

Modern Humans (or Cro-Magnons) seemed to have completely displaced the Neanderthals at least 25,000-30,000 years ago. While I've been interested in Neanderthals and viewed some of their fossils and weapons, only Cro-Magnons painted caves. When you view the cave paintings, you often have to travel into wet, dark caves. Many of the paintings are hard to see (because of decay over time) and you need the tour guide to point out the features of the paintings. The vast majority of the paintings are of animals - Bulls, mammoths, reindeer, horses, goats, and more.

Many of the paintings I saw in both France and Spain were dated between 13,000-20,000 years ago. Some of the caves I saw included Bernifal, Font de Gaume, Rouffignac, and Lascaux II (Replica cave) in France and La Pileta and Ardales in Spain. I also saw various shelters and sites where Neanderthal were believed to live. My favorite experience was viewing a beautiful horse in the La Pileta "Sanctuary"
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Opening to Bernifal cave, Dordogne, France
corridor. The horse looked similar to some of the horses shown in the world famous Lascaux paintings.

No one is exactly sure about what the purpose of the cave paintings are, but there are several books that speculate. The Lascaux cave showed what seemed to be hunting scenes and also half-human/half-animal creatures. In Spain, I saw some scenes that seemed to show shaman, suggesting a religious purpose to the paintings.

Out of all the adventures I've ever done, my favorite was probably seeing these prehistoric caves.
Viewing prehistoric cave paintings ..a truly spiritual experience!

Enjoy your travels,
Galen

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