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Sculptured animals at La Chaire à Calvin.

Bas relief sculptures.

Period: Palaeolithic
Site: Rock Art

The rock shelter was excavated in the 1860s, and numerous Palaeolithic artefacts were recovered. The bas relief carvings were not, however, discovered until 1927 as they were hidden by the deposits in the shelter. The carved panel is about three metres long and has eight individual animal carvings. One of the carvings, thought to represent a horse, is about 90 centimetres long and 60 centimetres high. Identification of these animals is difficult, and rock art scholars do not agree on whether some depict horses or bovids. The defining features of these animals is either missing or badly preserved. There are suggestions that some of the carvings might depict ibex, as these carvings bear a striking resemblance to the carvings of ibex at the site of Roc-aux-Sorciers – which is not that far away. As with other carved depictions such as these at La Chaire à Calvin, remnants of pigments were found on the bodies of the animals, suggesting that they were originally painted.

Although not the clearest of carved, bas relief representations in France, this is one of the few shelters with carved animal images that is freely open to the public, with 24 hour access. The Palaeolithic panel is, however, protected behind a secure fence.

Facilities & Visiting La Chaire à Calvin:

open-year-round 24-hours onsite-information wheelchair-accessible dogs-allowed photographs-allowed parking

During July and August, guided tours (lasting about an hour) take visitors into the fenced of shelter for a closer look at the carved animals.

Where is La Chaire à Calvin?

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