The Ganties-Montespan cave

  • © Lorblanchet
  • © Lorblanchet
  • © Lorblanchet
  • © Lorblanchet

Description

In 1923, Norbert Casteret discovered in the cave of Montespan-Ganties clay reliefs of horses shaped by man, and a clay statue depicting a headless bear, with a real bear skull at his feet.

These clay representations date from the Upper Palaeolithic and are among the oldest in the world. Cross-checked with other archaeological finds, they are at the origin of the cult of the bear’s theory developed by some pre-historians in the 1920s.

The cave:

 The main gallery of the cave, traversed by the river has several engravings. A secondary gallery opening in the right wall, about 150 meters from the resurgence, called the Casteret-Godin gallery, contains most of the prehistoric artefacts. This gallery, 160 m long, is accessible by climbing a series of “gours”. The parietal art, engravings, modelling and coloured traces are concentrated in the last 60 metres. Facing the “gours”, 3 horses are engraved. Further, on the right wall is a carved panel, quite time-worn, displaying a deer, three horses, an ox and ‘hoop signs’. The walls of the gallery are covered with clay throughout their length, and carry many human traces (grooves, holes). After a bend, three damaged animals, modelled in relief, are visible, along with carved horses. Many masses of clay, displaced by Paleolithic people, are visible on the ground. Later, in a rotunda, is a patterned bear (1,1 x 0,6 m), headless, in front of which was found a bear skull. On the floor, the walls and the roof, several figures (horses, bison, anthropomorphic) are engraved, sometimes associated with red or black spots. The bottom of the gallery, whose vault is increasingly low, includes modelling or drafts of modelling, quite time-worn and unidentifiable, and numerous engravings. The main gallery of the cave where flows the underground river, has dispersed some artefacts. In a side gallery after a cat flap, a frieze carved in clay, called “hunting scene” shows horses pierced with holes, associated with group of lines interpreted as traps. Further in the main gallery, the Hall of Chaos contains figures of bison, horses and a bird. The last figure, a horse, is in the Hall of the Dome, 1 km from the entrance.

Source : europreart.net