Site: Rock Art
Bernifal cave was discovered in 1902. There are both painted and engraved images in the cave. There is a wide range of animal representations, specifically there are 24 mammoths. Of particular interest here are the geometric, hut-like signs called ‘tectiforms – of which there are 13, there are at least 20 at the nearby decorated cave of Font de Gaume. There are both painted and engraved tectiforms at Bernifal.
The artists at Bernifal made good use of natural features to create their representations. Near the entrance is hanging bit of rock, the artist merely added a red horn, a nostril and and eye and the rock now bears a striking resemblance to the head of of a bison – as typically seen in the cave art. To the right of this a human face appears to look out of the rock – a combination of natural and painted features.
Facilities & Visiting Bernifal:
Visiting Bernifal is much less formal than many of the other State owned sites in the Vézére Valley. The cave itself is as near to natural as visitors to the Dordogne are likely to find. There is no installed lighting or floor covering. The owner carries a torch, and he conducts the tour as his mood takes him.
Buying tickets for Bernifal
Bernifal is privately owned, and it is the owner who leads visitors through the cave. There is no ticket office, or opening hours; to visit the cave telephone the owner and make a reservation – usually restricted the high tourist season between June and September. Telephone number 00 33 6 74 96 30 43
Where is Bernifal?
- Archaeology Travel article: Tips for Visiting the Dordogne’s Ice Age Caves with Children