Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Somalia twin bombings kill 18 in Mogadishu

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Arming the "good guys"?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Gun Control in the United States: Will the Florida shooting be the turning point?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Giving a voice to the homeless in France

Read more

REPORTERS

'Never Again': The students pushing for US gun control

Read more

#TECH 24

A bright future for solar power

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

Winter in France's Burgundy vineyards

Read more

FOCUS

How French cyber police are patrolling the 'Dark Web'

Read more

ENCORE!

Marseille mon amour: Mediterranean city celebrates love

Read more

France

In pictures: Giant replica of prehistoric site to open in France

© SYCPA , Sébastien Gayet. Visitors to the Chauvet Cave move between cave drawings on footbridges.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-04-11

A giant replica of France’s 36,000-year-old “Grotte Chauvet”, home to 1,000 prehistoric animal cave-drawings, was inaugurated by President François Hollande on Friday, after three years of construction.

The largest perfect replica of a prehistoric site in Europe, the monumental space is around seven kilometres from the original site in the Ardeche region of southern France, which UNESCO said contains "the earliest known figurative drawings in the world”.

A team of engineers, sculptors, painters and artists used high-tech methods, like a 3-D technique developed using digital scanners, to achieve results as close as possible to the original cave, sealed off for millennia before its discovery in 1994.

Visitors descend via a long ramp into caverns that are climatised to replicate the original environment.

 

The 1,000 animal drawings include bears, woolly rhinoceroses, cats, panthers and lions, all recreated using charcoal, the same material used by the original Aurignacian people.

The project cost about 55 million euros ($58 million), and is expected to draw around 350,000 visitors each year.

Hollande spent about an hour on the winding path through the replica and gushed enthusiastically afterwards.

"This is where man invented painting ... here, with a single handprint, they invented self-portraits ... and when they played with shadow and light, they invented cinema," said the president.

"I will never stop saying it wherever I go in the world: You want to know where you come from? Come to the cave at Pont d'Arc and you'll be right at home."

Researchers believe the original cave was never permanently inhabited by humans "but was instead of a sacred character" and "used for shamanist ritual practice".

The “Grotte Chauvet” replica will open to the public on April 25.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2015-04-10

  • FRANCE

    UNESCO grants heritage status to prehistoric French cave

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    D-Day beaches ‘nowhere near’ gaining UNESCO status

    Read more

  • CULTURE

    UNESCO includes historic French city on world heritage list

    Read more

COMMENT(S)